It seems like there’s a new study relating nutrition and brain development every week. Sometimes, health experts tell us to eat grilled tuna, high in omega-3s, to ward off Alzheimer’s disease — and then, a new report on mercury levels reveals just how risky tuna can be for brain health. Clinical studies that have tried to administer certain nutrients to promote better neurological health have almost always failed. The haziness of all this data makes it hard to place your faith in any one diet.
Oregon Health & Science University’s Dr. Gene Bowman has a theory about the source of the confusion. He thinks that the reason past studies have failed to produce satisfactory results is that they’re getting their information from the wrong place. Most studies on long-term nutrition and health rely on dietary surveys, which ask studies’ participants to remember everything they’ve eaten over the past few weeks. That’s a tall order when you’re talking to people at risk for — or even in the early stages of — dementia.