Cognition Nutrition: Food for Thought
Jul 17th 2008, From The Economist print edition
CHILDREN have a lot to contend with these days, not least a tendency for their pushy parents to force-feed them omega-3 oils at every opportunity. These are supposed to make children brainier, so they are being added to everything from bread, milk and pasta to baby formula and vitamin tablets. But omega-3 is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg; many nutrients have proven cognitive effects, and do so throughout a persons life, not merely when he is a child.
Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a fish-loving professor of neurosurgery and physiological science at the University of California, Los Angeles, believes that appropriate changes to a person??s diet can enhance his cognitive abilities, protect his brain from damage and counteract the effects of ageing. Dr Gomez-Pinilla has been studying the effects of food on the brain for years, and has now completed a review, just published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, that has analysed more than 160 studies of food??s effect on the brain. Some foods, he concludes, are like pharmaceutical compounds; their effects are so profound that the mental health of entire countries may be linked to them.



How to Get Smart. Really
By Pramila N. Phatarphekar | 11 July 2009 [Full Text]
... ??I??m lucky that I love fish,??says Dr. Fernando Gomez Pinilla over the phone, and that??s no frivolous foodie confession from this professor of neurosurgery and physiological science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is talking about his latest scientific research which happens to have spilled onto his dinner plate. It shows that a fish-n-fruit-rich diet can improve brain function, protect the mind and stave off mental ageing. ??The brain, more than any other organ in the body, consumes a tremendous amount of energy. It??s also subjected to a lot of oxidative stress which results in cell damage,??he says. ??Fish, berries and antioxidants reduce and reverse this. They also protect the learning and memory nerve membranes.??Docosahexaeonoic acid (DHA), an Omega-3 fatty acid that makes up about 30 per cent of our nerve cell membranes, is also found in oily fish like salmon and sardines, while its vegetarian version linolenic acid is present in walnuts and flax seeds. Tanking up on these fats improve memory and learning. ...



Der Spiegel
D??nger f??rs Gehirn
By J?rg Blech | 20 December 2008
A German based, international magazine.
... ??In Los Angeles schlie?lich widmet sich der Neurobiologe Fernando G??mez-Pinilla an der University of California dem Ph?nomen. "Die Nahrung wirkt auf das Gehirn wie ein Arzneimittel", erkl?rt der geb??rtige Chilene, dessen Forschung sich vor allem um Omega-3-Fetts?uren dreht. ??

UCLA Newsroom:
Scientists learn how food affects brain
By Stuart Wolpert | 7/9/2008 [Full Text]
In addition to helping protect us from heart disease and cancer, a balanced diet and regular exercise can also protect the brain and ward off mental disorders.
"Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has spent years studying the effects of food, exercise and sleep on the brain. "Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging."
Gomez-Pinilla analyzed more than 160 studies about food's affect on the brain; the results of his analysis appear in the July issue of the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience and are available online at Nature.

Health for Life: Can Exercise Make You Smarter?
By Mary Carmichael, Newsweek online, April 9, 2007 [Full Text]
... With regular exercise, the body builds up its levels of BDNF, and the brain's nerve cells start to branch out, join together and communicate with each other in new ways. This is the process that underlies learning: every change in the junctions between brain cells signifies a new fact or skill that's been picked up and stowed away for future use. BDNF makes that process possible. Brains with more of it have a greater capacity for knowledge. On the other hand, says UCLA neuroscientist Fernando Gomez-Pinilla,  a brain that's low on BDNF shuts itself off to new information. In his experiments, ...

Los Angeles Times:
Health: Nutrition: Remember this: Benefits of gingko are minor
By Chris Woolston, Los Angeles Times Jun 18, 2007
... Ginkgo may be the most scrutinized supplement to ever hit health store shelves. There have been hundreds of ginkgo studies, including many classic rats-in-a-maze-type investigations and dozens of human trials. According to Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at UCLA and a spokesperson for the Society for Neuroscience, the bulk of these studies point in the same direction: Ginkgo probably can help improve thinking, but not by much. "It won't make you a genius," he says. ...