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Researchers Find Correlation Between Vitamin D And Cognitive Decline Surprising

Researchers Find Correlation Between Vitamin D And Cognitive Decline Surprising

The idea of a cognitive decline is not something most people enjoy thinking about, let alone looking into. However, researchers have uncovered a surprising link between Vitamin D deficiency and the rate of cognitive decline in the later stages of life.

The study, presented by ScienceDaily, from the joint team efforts of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Rutgers University researchers has found a significant link between the levels of vitamin D intake and the rate of cognitive decline among selected populations. The research found that older individuals who have much lower levels of vitamin D intake were three times more likely to develop stronger symptoms of cognitive decline.

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What is the reasoning behind this shocking acceleration of cognitive decline? According to the research team, melanin levels in the skin appear to have some correlation with the rate of decline.

This research has startling and interesting implications for the American-based researchers, particularly when it comes to the kind of findings inferred for Hispanic/Latin individuals and African-American individuals. As the researchers pointed out in their findings, people with darker skin tones receive less vitamin D from sunlight due to the stronger levels of melanin in their skin. Melanin, the chemical within the skin that causes the skin to tan and darken, and which also prevents the body from synthesizing vitamin D as effectively, is naturally more present within individuals with darker skin tones (such as African-American and Hispanic/Latin individuals), meaning that they may be more likely to have lower vitamin D levels and therefore be at further risk of an accelerated decline of cognitive faculties.

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The question remains: what is it about Vitamin D that seems to help slow down cognitive decline in older individuals? Vitamin D has been linked intrinstically to the absorption of essential calcium into the body, and it also has benefits in preventing conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (both are conditions in which the bones become softened, generally through a vitamin D deficiency).

In addition, African-American and Hispanic/Latin individuals are among the racial groups in the United States less likely to consume the recommended amount of dairy products rich in vitamin D, which would, in theory, help to boost levels of the vitamin. The study found that, after speaking to the 50% of African-American and Mexican-American participants within the study, they found that a paltry 6.5% of the African-American participants consumed the levels of dairy products as recommended by the FDA, and only 11% of Mexican-American participants consumed the same recommended levels.

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Charles DeCarli, the head of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, expressed a desire to continue further research into these shocking and surprising findings.

“I don’t know if replacement therapy would affect these cognitive trajectories. That needs to be researched and we are planning on doing that. This is a vitamin deficiency that could easily be treated and that has other health consequences. We need to start talking about it. And we need to start talking about it, particularly for people of color, for whom vitamin D deficiency appears to present an even greater risk,” DeCarli said.

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What the research means for the future of Alzheimer’s and dementia research is unclear. While DeCarli mentions the idea of a “replacement therapy,” the idea of introducing more vitamin D into the diets and lives of individuals suffering cognitive decline, particularly individuals with darker skin tones such as African-American and Hispanic/Latin individuals, seems both a laughably simple premise and a difficult challenge. However, while an actual cure for cognitive decline may be several years away, it appears to be a step in the right direction for helping manage and slow down such a destructive disease.

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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