Brain Health and Wellness Center®

Newsletter© 2012 HealthCare Insights

In This Issue
Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease
U.S.A. Annouces First Alzheimer’s Plan
Coconut Oil Commentary on Alzheimer’s Website on Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil? What’s That?, Jungle Effect & Ancient Baker
Student Wins Award for Evaluation of MPN Educational Series
Meet Dr. Nancy June 14 Boston
Quick Links


Joanne Koenig Coste


Eric Reardon, Nutritionist

Senior Living Residences


Anne Beecher, Massage & Stretching


WBUR Alzheimer’s Special


Ch 5 Boston Chronicle Brain Foods


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Featured Article

How much do you know about the benefits of Coconut Oil?

Issue: # 22 May 2012
Nancy Emerson Lombardo red headshot

Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.

Summertime is great for some fun family time, barbecues, and the 4th of July! Now is a good time to try out some of those delicious brain healthy recipes that we’ve shared with you. Cooled or made with crushed ice, those green smoothies can really hit the spot, or a cold summer salad made with quinoa instead of potatoes or pasta. See our website recipe section

One thing you might not have tried using when cooking is coconut oil. You might think that coconut oil is only used as a moisturizer in your favorite shampoo or hand cream but, it has other uses as well, and has many benefits to overall health (see below What’s Coconut Oil?) It is used in many South Asian dishes. Meanwhile certain news pieces have gone viral concerning coconut oil as possibly helpful to people with Alzheimer’s disease.To find out more about Coconut Oil and AD check out what Snopes and the Alzheimer’s Association have to say (below) and start with our featured article.On May 15th, 2012 President Obama and his administration released the first ever National Alzheimer’s Plan. We are all very excited and look forward to the urgently needed faster progress in meeting the challenges of Alzheimer’s. The Plan sets the goal of finding a way of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by 2025, together with improved care and services for those with the illness.The Alzheimer’s Association will continue to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to meet this goal. We are all determined to prevent the national emergency that will happen if the baby boomers approach their 80’s without our finding solutions to this impending crisis. For more information on this check out the article, new government website and pdf file of the entire plan below.Breaking news! Congratulations to Eva Marie O’Connor-Souza, a candidate for the Masters in Gerontology at U Mass Boston. Ms Souza has just been informed she’ll be awarded the annual Gerontology Capstone Award at the June 1 Commencement, for her Masters Capstone Project to evaluate an 8-part educational series for seniors based on my evidence-based Memory Preservation Nutrition® implemented by the Area Agency on Aging for Allegany County Maryland. To learn more, go to article.


And finally, I want to share with you 3 resources for healthy nutrition, including two based right here in Boston. One is “Oldways,” a non-profit organization featuring their new African American Heritage Foods, as well as Mediterranean and Latino traditional foods. Their website is intriguing ( Oldways has the great idea of guiding people to good health through heritage, pointing out that today’s chronic diseases are NOT part of our heritage. Today’s chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s, result largely from eating foods foreign to our human physiology, and lack of physical movement our bodies and brains’ design depends upon.


Offering great stories and information along similar lines is the new book called The Jungle Effect: A Doctor Discovers the Healthiest Diets from Around the World – Why they Work and How to Bring them Home written by an MD who discovers the food secrets to “coldspots” in the world where rates of particular modern diseases are very low because of certain traditional or heritage foods required by specific people for optimal health.

And, even more poignant, a delightful and brilliant young Bostonian woman Tonya Johnson who is implementing these ideas as the “Ancient Baker” Today Tonya bringing us delicious baked goods using ancient ways, herbs, and sprouted grains, and much, much more. Ms. Johnson is in process of becoming certified as minority, woman owned small business and is on the brink of even more wonderful endeavors. We are hoping that ” brain healthy baked goods” are in our collective futures, so stay tuned! (Meanwhile follow Tonya on Facebook, her link is on the Quick Links section in upper left part of this newsletter.)


And here is a delicious treat for the eye, mouth and brain! Just a hint of the magnificent brain healthy foods offered to aClose up Fruit Cornerttendees at Neville Place’s 10th Anniversary Celebration on May 17. Scroll to the bottom of this email to see more photos plus some of Dr. Nancy’s mentors and colleagues.

You are invited to join me at a special event in Boston June 14 5:30- 8. See Event section below.


CoconutAlzheimersCoconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease by Nancy Emerson Lombardo Ph.D. © 2012
Coconut OilAs some readers may know, coconut oil, and the medium chain length triglycerides are being investigated as a treatment for people with Alzheimer’s disease, with some reportedly positive results. Consuming coconut oil is one way for bringing patients into “ketosis” to give the brain a source of energy alternative to glucose since some (not all) brain cells affected by Alzheimer’s have lost their ability to use glucose. Anecdotally, and in pilot and a single phase II study, coconut oil in various forms has reportedly had at least short term interesting results for a few people. But the companies profiting from this idea chose NOT to carry out Phase III trials which are the gold standard for establishing efficacy for people. And we really don’t know the long term effects of taking large amounts of coconut. Keep in mind that most of the drugs tested for AD during the past 10-20 years that may have looked promising in Phase II (preliminary, small) clinical trials, failed in larger clinical trials with a larger number and greater variety of research participants.Please check out SNOPES article that outlines why you should be very skeptical about reports you hear on this subject, and the Alzheimer’s Association statement(also cautionary) and use your own best judgment.You may also want to read the blog on Coconut oil from an on line newsletter

Bottom line: The story is still out on the coconut oil research so please don’t go overboard with eating coconut products or putting all your eggs in this basket. Continue to eat a brain healthy nutritional program with a variety of healthy foods such as recommended by my evidence-based Memory Preservation Nutrition® program.


On the other hand, more and more recent research is suggesting coconut oil has a variety of overall health benefits. So you might want to start consuming a modest amount of coconut products including coconut oil, keeping in mind you will want to save some of your fat calories for other fatty plant and marine foods KNOWN to be beneficial for our brains, such as nuts, seeds (including flax, hemp and chia seeds rich in omega 3’s), avocados, seafood and fish oil, olive oil, and yes, dark chocolate. (Photo taken at Neville Place’s Anniversary Party featuring Memory Preservation Nutrition® program recipes and foods!)


Chocolate Dessert Tray
Brain Healthy Desserts with Dark Chocolate, Nuts, Seeds & Fruit


The concerns of 1970s and 1980s that the high saturated fat content in coconut oil was dangerous to health (over 85% of fat in coconut oil is saturated) are undergoing review. Those early findings may have been distorted because the studies included coconut oil that was artificially (i.e. by man) partially hydrogenated, i.e. included large amounts of transfats.


Whether consumption of coconut oil causes the body to produce LDL cholesterol is now controversial as others argue coconut oil reduces it. In any case there is no cholesterol in any plant based food. Nutrition scientists are taking a fresh look at whether and which saturated fats from PLANTS are beneficial rather than harmful, as most excessive saturated fats from animals appear to be in contrast to excessive saturated fats from animals which appear to be harmful in excess.


More recent research has suggested the particular fats in coconut oil are healthy fats and protective of the body in multiple respects. There are dozens to hundreds of research articles relevant to establishing the many health benefits claimed for coconut oil. See the Coconut Research Center. We do not know who sponsors this website (probably the coconut industry), but the articles listed seem legitimate.

If you click on any particular research study it will take you directly to pub med, the US government’s public access website for scientific studies related to health


As many of the websites point out, coconut products are FOOD that have been used for hundreds to thousands of years by humans in southeast Asia and elsewhere. The main proven side effect is that eating a lot of it will add so many calories you will probably gain weight. But even that concern can disappear if the rest of your diet is healthy and balanced, and coconut oil and other parts of the coconut are being used instead of unhealthier calorie sources such as sugar, white flour/rice, refined starches and animal saturated fats/oils.


Keep in mind, whatever the source of fat, 1 gram of oil or fat equals 9 calories. And every teaspoon of coconut oil weighs on average 4.5 grams and thus means you are consuming about 40 calories; 1 Tablespoon is 120 calories. If your total diet includes too many calories vs. how many you burn off each day, your body stores the excess calories (whether from sugar or fats) as body fat and excess body fat includes cholesterol. (Yet evidence is building that the really toxic substance is excess SUGAR, that also causes the body to create fat and cholesterol).


Some of those who have incorporated coconut oil into their daily regimen use no more than about 1 or 2 Tablespoons/day of pure coconut oil, raw or heated. (That’s about 120- to 240 calories or 10-15% of total calories for the day!).

Lots of Nuts Avacodo

My conclusion? Eating some coconut of all kinds (coconut milk, oil, or coconut meat) is good for all of us, so long as we leave room in our diet for the other known healthy fats and oils (e.g. fish or other marine oils, olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, dark chocolate, to name a few). Coconut oil contains small amounts of the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E that our brains love (see Nutrition Facts for raw coconut oil.) And another tropical plant oil, palm oil is the best commercial source of the scarcer vitamin E forms, the tocotrienols, that our brain and body need to be at peak health.

AlzPlan Announcement of the National Alzheimer’s Plan Now the Hard Part, Implementation, Begins!
by Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.
National Alzheimer’s Plan issued May 15, 2012This month has had added positive excitement with the Obama administration’s announcement of our countries first NATIONAL PLAN FOR ALZHEIMER”S DISEASE! I have been personally waiting for over 30 years for this to happen so it is indeed a time for celebration. This is a substantial call for action with details goals and time lines for research, public health and public education initiatives, as well as care and services for people already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or cognitive problems together with increased education efforts to prepare the workforce needed. I am thrilled to see that the research goals include a separate section on lifestyles that could be promising for both prevention and treatment. That includes brain healthy foods.The National Alzheimer’s Plan wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of the national Alzheimer’s Association and its legions of advocates at the state and local level. Also, the bipartisan leadership of key people in Congress including our own Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey, whose own mother died of AD some years ago, and who has led the Congressional Caucus on Alzheimer’s Disease ever since.


However it will take a lot of hard and collective work, internationally as well as nation-wide, to actually change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. It will take serious increases in funding of both research and care, through bipartisan collaborations to achieve the full potential of the National Alzheimer’s Plan. To quote the Alzheimer’s Association: We need substantial “more public education, improved care, better community supports, and ultimately, effective treatments to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s.”

From the Alzheimer’s Association:

The development of the plan is a result of a mandate within the National Alzheimer’s Project Act that was passed unanimously through bipartisan congressional support and signed into law by the president in January last year.


“This is a strong plan that promises important progress when implemented,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “For all Americans – not just the more than 5 million living with Alzheimer’s and their 15 million caregivers today – this plan is an historic achievement.”

After the passage and enactment of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, the Alzheimer’s Association and its more than 460,000 advocates have made impassioned demands for swift action on Alzheimer’s in Washington and in communities nationwide. The Alzheimer’s Association’s public input campaign included more than 130 input sessions in communities nationwide. Insights gathered from these sessions informed the creation of this plan.

The Association will continue to support the implementation process and looks forward to continued work with the Department of Health and Human Services to meet the Administration’s important goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.” Check out the article at

Alz Assn Carefinder

To view the complete national plan you can go online or download the attached pdf file


The Obama administration has also published a brand new website for “one stop shopping” about Alzheimer’s disease, go to which is a state of the art enhanced version of its ADEAR center’s website.

This will complete the wonderful information already found on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website


To signify that the National Plan is not just words, and that the administration is determined to start moving forward rapidly toward realizing the goals, the administration also reiterated the dedication of $50 million extra research dollars this fiscal year, and an additional $100 million for FY 2013 as well as the launch of two new important human clinical trials.

  • A Phase III trial of Susan Craft’s study of a nasal insulin spray to treat people with AD.”It’s based on growing evidence that diabetes and Alzheimer’s are related, damaging how the brain is fueled.” The insulin nasal spray can reach the brain without affecting blood-sugar levels.”
  • a new prevention trial for a South-American family where 50% of members develop AD. (to learn more)


More from NIH Press Release:

The first National Alzheimer’s Plan comes as the world’s top Alzheimer’s scientists are gathered at the NIH this week to debate what research needs to be given priority in order to meet that ambitious 2025 deadline. They said it may be time to start testing potential therapies differently, before people have full-blown Alzheimer’s symptoms, when it may be too late to help.

“There’s a sense of optimism” thanks to some new discoveries, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told scientists at the Alzheimer’s Research Summit on Monday.

But, “we need to figure out exactly where is the best window of opportunity” to battle back Alzheimer’s, Collins said. He noted that cardiologists don’t test cholesterol-lowering drugs on people already near death from heart failure.

Reisa Sperling MD
Reisa Sperling MD

It’s clear that Alzheimer’s quietly brews in the brain, killing off cells, for 10 years or more before symptoms appear, Dr. Reisa Sperling, MD, of Harvard Medical School told the meeting. She called that time period an important opportunity to try to stave off the disease, at least postponing the memory loss and other symptoms.

Already, 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s or related dementias. Barring a research breakthrough, those numbers will rise significantly by 2050, when up to 16 million Americans are projected to have Alzheimer’s. Already, it’s the sixth-leading killer in the U.S., and there is no cure. Treatments only temporarily ease some symptoms.

Beyond the suffering, it’s a budget-busting disease for Medicare, Medicaid and families. Caring for people with dementia will cost the U.S. $200 billion this year alone, and $1 trillion by 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates. Even that staggering figure doesn’t fully reflect the toll. Sufferers lose the ability to do the simplest activities of daily life and can survive that way for a decade or more. Family members provide most of the care, unpaid, and too often their own health crumbles under the stress.

AZACOCONUT OIL commentary on Alzheimer Association website
Alzheimer's Association OIL: Caprylic acid (clinically tested as Ketasyn [AC-1202], marketed as a “medical food” called Axona®) and coconut oil 

Caprylic acid is the active ingredient of Axona, which is marketed as a “medical food.” Caprylic acid is a medium-chain triglyceride (fat) produced by processing coconut oil or palm kernel oil. The body breaks down caprylic acid into substances called “ketone bodies.” The theory behind Axona is that the ketone bodies derived from caprylic acid may provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose (sugar) as a result of Alzheimer’s. Glucose is the brain’s chief energy source. Imaging studies show reduced glucose use in brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s.

Axona’s development was preceded by development of the chemically similar Ketasyn (AC-1202). Ketasyn was tested in a Phase II clinical study enrolling 152 volunteers with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Most participants were also taking FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drugs. The manufacturer of Axona reports that study participants who took Ketasyn performed better on tests of memory and overall function than those who received a placebo (a look-alike, inactive treatment). (See below for abstract of the study)

The chief goal of Phase II clinical studies is to provide information about the safety and best dose of an experimental treatment. Phase II trials are generally too small to confirm that a treatment works. To demonstrate effectiveness under the prescription drug approval framework, the FDA requires drug developers to follow Phase II studies with larger Phase III trials enrolling several hundred to thousands of volunteers.

The manufacturer of Ketasyn decided not to conduct Phase III studies to confirm its effectiveness. The company chose instead to use Ketasyn as the basis of Axona and promote Axona as a “medical food.” Medical foods do not require Phase III studies or any other clinical testing. The Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council has expressed concern that there is not enough evidence to assess the potential benefit of medical foods for Alzheimer’s disease. For more information, please see the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council statement about medical foods.

Some people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers have turned to coconut oil as a less expensive, over-the-counter source of caprylic acid. A few people have reported that coconut oil helped the person with Alzheimer’s, but there’s never been any clinical testing of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s, and there’s no scientific evidence that it helps. on Coconut Oil ©2012
Snopes.comClaim: Coconut oil is an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.SNOPES CONCLUSION: UNDETERMINEDExample: [Collected via 2012 Christian Broadcasting Network e-mail, January 2012]I saw a video from CBN News that said that coconut oil was a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s and other diseases. It is the ketones in the coconut oil that helps.

Is this true?


Dr. Mary Newport (featured in the CBN video), pediatrician author of the 2011 book Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure?: The Story of Ketones, supports the glucose-starvation theory and postulates ketones (delivered in the form of coconut oil) provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost to Alzheimer’s their ability to use glucose (the brain’s chief energy source). She points to her own husband’s remarkable results after having had his diet supplemented with this substance as one of the proofs of this form of treatment.

But is there any solid proof that coconut oil is an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s? On his MedFriendly web site, neuropsychologist Dr. Dominic Carone uses the claim that Alzheimer’s disease can be effectively treated or reversed with coconut oil as the basis for a case study on how to evaluate suspicious medical treatment claims. He proposes the application of five criteria to the analysis of such claims:

  • Search the peer-reviewed medical literature.
  • Evaluate the quality of peer-reviewed medical literature.
  • Research who is promoting the treatment.
  • Be skeptical of suspicious claims.
  • Research what respectable organizations devoted to the condition say about the treatment.

The coconut oil as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease claim fails the first criterion (and renders the second moot) because there are no peer-reviewed articles addressing research on coconut oil as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.


Of the third criterion, Dr. Carone notes:

It is important to evaluate the person or group of people promoting the supposed treatment to determine if there are reasons to cause suspicion about the accuracy of the claims being made. Examples can include a financial conflict of interest, desire to help a loved one with the proposed treatment, or anger towards conventional medicine. Coconut oil treatment for Alzheimer’s is mainly promoted by a single person (a physician) whose husband has Alzheimer’s disease. This doctor is selling a book based on the claim and has published comments on a website taking personal credit for outsmarting drug companies along with apparent antipathy towards those companies that make “monopoly profits.”


Of the fourth criterion, Dr. Carone notes:

The fact is that Alzheimer’s disease is [currently] incurable and causes progressive degeneration of brain tissue, yet the claim is being made that coconut oil can reverse Alzheimer’s disease and totally halt brain atrophy. These claims are partly based on the doctor observing changes in her husband after using the coconut oil, which leads to a subjective investment in believing the treatment will work. This is not the standard by which medication effectiveness is judged and is very far from randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled studies.


For the fifth criterion and conclusion see the snopes website.


CoconutOilNow What is Coconut Oil?
©2012 Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Throughout the tropical world, it has provided the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people for generations. It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Coconut oil is very heat-stable, which makes it suited to methods of cooking at high temperatures like frying. Because of its stability, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidity, lasting up to two years due to high saturated fat content.


Fractionated coconut oil is a fraction of the whole oil, in which the different medium-chain fatty acids are separated for specific uses. Lauric acid, a 12-carbon chain fatty acid, is often removed because of its high value for industrial and medical purposes. Fractionated coconut oil may also be referred to as caprylic/capric triglyceride oil or medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil because it is primarily the medium-chain caprylic (8 carbons) and capric (10 carbons) acids that make up the bulk of the oil. MCT oil is most frequently used for medical applications and special diets.


Advocacy against coconut and palm oils in the 1970s and 80s due to their perceived danger as a saturated fat caused companies to instead substitute trans fats, unaware of their health-damaging effects.


Coconut oil contains a large proportion of lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises blood cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol that is also found in significant amounts in breast milk and sebaceous gland secretions. This may create a more favorable blood cholesterol profile, though it is unclear if coconut oil may promote atherosclerosis through other pathways. Because much of the saturated fat of coconut oil is in the form of lauric acid, coconut oil clearly is a better alternative to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil when solid fats are required. In addition, virgin coconut oil is composed mainly of medium-chain triglycerides, which may not carry the same risks as other saturated fats. Early studies on the health effects of coconut oil used partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which creates trans fats, and not virgin coconut oil, which has a different health risk profile.


In food

Coconut Oil 2Coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying and is a common flavor in many South Asian curries. In recent years, virgin coconut oil has increasingly become popular in natural food circles and with vegans. It was described in a New York Times article as having a “haunting, nutty flavor” that also has a touch of sweetness which works well in baked goods, pastries, and sautés. Coconut oil is used by movie theatre chains to pop popcorn, adding a large amount of saturated fat in the process. Coconut oil contains a large proportion of lauric acid, which is converted to monolaurin in the body, a fat found otherwise only in human breast milk. It is also often used in infant formula.


Personal Care:

Coconut oil is popular as a skin moisturizer, as the basis for creamy soaps and shampoos.


The concern over the high saturated fat levels in coconut oil are undergoing review.


Meanwhile there are hundreds of research articles relevant to establishing the many health benefits claimed for coconut oil. See the Coconut Research Website. We do not know who sponsors this website (probably the coconut industry), but the articles listed seem legitimate. If you click on any particular research study it will take you directly to pub med, the US government’s public access website for scientific studies related to health

OldwaysOldways Website reviewed by Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D., introducing Boston’s “Ancient Baker” and book, The Jungle Effect by Daphne Miller MD

Oldways is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, with a mission to guide people to good health through heritage. I was struck by how much their recommendations, such as in the attached pdf file, parallel and reinforce my Memory Preservation Nutrition® program, so you will find lots of great ideas and tasty suggestions on their website. We all agree that DELICIOUS is important if we are to ACTUALLY EAT brain and body healthy foods. Moreover, as they point out, the social aspects of eating are also important to our optimal health.
The healthy old ways have a special importance and impact because they bring together:
  • Good nutrition with delicious foods
  • Culture Heritage and
  • Eating, Shopping and Cooking.
African Heritage Stew
African Stew

One diet that they promote is African Heritage Diet. Many diseases that we see running rampid today were not nearly as common in earlier times such as, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This is due to primarily to the change in our diets, as well as lack of movement in our daily lives, together with increase of toxins, less sleep and more stress.


Scientific research suggests following traditional diets, using foods as close to those that your particular ancestors ate, will lower your risks for many of these diseases.

Check out Oldways pdf on the African Heritage Diet.


Check out their website for more information at They have lots of recipes and meal planning suggestions for several traditional nutritional styles such as Mediterranean, Latino, Turkish and African American. Vegetables incl edamame

Mediterranean scene
Mediterranean coast

And if you are into healthy baked goods, (we hope you are) a wonderful baker local to the Boston area is perfecting her delicious baked goods and will soon be marketing them more broadly. Her name is Tonya Johnson, and she is using traditional and “ancient” grains and the ancient tradition of SPROUTING GRAINS before using in cooking and baking. Guess what, sprouting turns a grain into a vegetable, so much more healthy for us, and most of the problem with gluten in wheat or spelt disappears for most people. Vision's Sown cookiesTonya Johnson is known as the ANCIENT BAKER; her company is “Visions Sown”. Ms. Johnson is currently earning another advanced degree, this time in management at Simmons College and she has earned the interest of professors and students at Bentley College who chose her business as the semester’s class project.


Check out Tonya’s facebook page & website to find where you can purchase her delicious cookies and other baked goods.


Want more information on healthy diets? Check out the book The Jungle Effect: A Doctor Discovers the Healthiest Diets from Around the World – Why they Work and How to Bring them Home by Daphne Miller. Watch video of Author’s summary.


Jungle Effect bookHere is the Publishers Weekly review: Family physician Miller had seen countless cases of chronic illness and weight gain, but it wasn’t until she saw a patient recently returned from Brazil that a light bulb went off in her head: the patient had noticed marked improvement after just a few weeks in her father’s native village. Intrigued, Miller did some research and found a number of “cold spots” around the world, areas where chronic diseases like diabetes, depression and heart disease are disproportionately low. She then embarked on a world tour to find out why. As she travels through Copper Canyon, Mexico to Cameroon, West Africa to Iceland-where locals manage to avoid depression in one of the darkest and coldest regions in the world-and beyond, Miller finds that, in each case, local diet plays a key role. Many of her overarching tips will sound familiar (eat fresh foods, eat more fish, avoid refined sugar, watch the salt, etc.), but a handful of suggestions, such as eating fermented foods and using mushrooms to fight cancer, should come as news. Miller’s work is consistently informative and educational, if at times meandering; each “cold spot” is accompanied by a specific regimen, and Miller’s practical advice and recipes are all geared for the novice. Anyone unafraid of modifying their diet will find this anthropological diet guide useful.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

AlleganyEva Marie O’Connor-Souza Wins Annual Gerontology Capstone Award from U Mass Boston for her evaluation of the evidence-based Memory Preservation Nutrition® educational series for seniors in Allegany County, Maryland
U Mass Gerontology Students The success of this program was all the more poignant because Allegany County is in Appalachia! U. Mass Boston Institute of Gerontology ‘s description of Eva’s award reads as follows:“This Capstone Project evaluated the effectiveness of a senior center training in “Memory Preservation Nutrition®” (MPN), which had previously been used only in private consultation and in assisted living residences. The study was designed to determine if the program could be translated for group use in community based settings by individuals who will be preparing meals in their own homes. For her project the awardee reviewed the literature on the impact of nutrition on cognitive function, and the specific evidence for MPN. She then worked with the Senior Centers to collect qualitative data on staff and participant satisfaction with the training and the uses to which people put it. She also analyzed the data they had collected. Finally, Ms. O’Connor-Souza made recommendations about future replication of the training in order to disseminate this valuable program to a wider audience.”

We are thrilled for Ms O’Connor-Souza!

The Back Story:

Allegany County Area Agency on Aging (part of the County’s Human Resources Development Commission) successfully won a Maryland state grant to teach seniors about brain healthy nutrition following Dr. Emerson Lombardo’s Memory Preservation Nutrition® program. The funds were awarded competitively by Maryland’s Department of Aging using federal stimulus funds for evidence-based health promotion programs. They hired Dr. Emerson Lombardo as a consultant, purchased several MPN™ booklets and used her handouts to lay out a 8 week program, enlisting local experts to explain each of the 6 major strategies of the MPN,™ together with selected other brain healthy lifestyles based on Dr. Emerson Lombardo’s handouts. The AAA worked through their 4 “full-service” senior centers serving this rural, low-income county in Appalachia (an area further devastated by the ongoing recession). Over 18% of the county’s population are adults over age 60. The AAA delivered the program fall of 2011, creatively adding concrete aides to inspire seniors to begin implementing changes.


Allegany County Seniors
Allegany County Seniors

Working in collaboration with Allegany County aging services officials to evaluate the program, Ms. Souza’s added to their before and after assays a direct survey of participants. 29 of the 32 participants responded, who gave the program a thumbs up. The seniors participating in the program reported learning a lot, and 86% said they have already been making recommended changes, “using some of the knowledge gained in their everyday meal planning” and 62% reported feeling better as a result. Ms. Souza concluded in her Capstone paper, “The survey reveals engaged, thoughtful participants. The Allegany County COA’s translation of the MPN™ program on a community basis appears to be successful based on the participants’ responses to the survey.”


Ms. Souza recommends that Dr. Emerson Lombardo further develop and formalize this educational program and offer to other organizations across the country who are interested in an evidence-based program on brain healthy nutrition.


If you wish to contact Ms. Souza to learn more about her project, you may contact her by email


To learn more about U Mass Boston’s Gerontology Masters, Doctoral and Certificate programs, check out their website at


LPXPartyMeet, Hear Dr. Nancy in Person – Thursday June 14 5:30 pm -8 pm Downtown Boston
LPX Launch Party!

Life Planning Exchange Event – Boston MA

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

5:30 pm – 8:00 pm


All Ages, Especially Boomers and Gen X
Elephant & Castle Pub & Restaurant, Boston (map)
161 Devonshire Street
Boston, Massachusetts, USA 02110
Other Info
Sponsor: Life Planning Exchange

Launch Party Invitation

Speakers – Book Signing – Networking

Appetizers & Cash Bar



$10 Early Bird Special (ends 6/1)

$20 Regular Price

  • I work out, but how can I keep my brain healthy?
  • What is the best way to care for my aging parents?
  • Do I need long-term care insurance?
  • Will I have enough money to live the way I want when I retire?
  • What should I have in my estate plan?

The Life Planning Exchange (LPX) helps Baby Boomers and Gen X successfully manage these and other life changing events by exchanging knowledge and experiences with peers and professionals at networking events, outings and speaker programs.

Speaker Panel

Janet Simpson Benvenuti Janet Simpson Benvenuti, President & CEO, Circle of Life Partners, LLCAuthor, “Don’t Give Up on Me! Supporting Aging Parents Succesfully”

Tobe Lynn Gerard, President, Tobe Gerard Insurance, LLC

Matthew Karr, Esq.

Matthew G. Karr, Esq, Partner The Heritage Law Center

Nancy B. Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D., Internationally Recognized Brain Health Expert, Memory Preservation Nutrition® Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo

Peggy McGillin CFP®Peggy McGillin, CFP Principal, Journey Financial Planners

Sponsored By:

Lisa A. Maini, Founder, myMarketingManager

Lisa Ann Maini

New Economy Boot Camp & Life Planning Exchange

Featured Presenters will each give a short overview of key facts we all need to know, and be available to meet you and answer your questions:

Nancy is available to answer your questions via e-mail or telephone. Check out our store. Many supplements and vitamins to be purchased as well as, reading materials and services from Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo!Look for her monthly column in the South Shore Senior News!

For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact Nancy for further information or to book an appointment. 978-621-1926 or email at

Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC
P.O. Box 2683 , Acton , MA 01720

Nancy’s original mentors and colleagues in brain healthy lifestyle include Professors Xiu Wen Zhang, and Dr. Bei Wu, now a full Professor at Duke University with positions at several other U.S. and Chinese universities. (see for a brief bio and Dr. Wu’s April 2 talk at U. Mass. Boston). The 3 of us gave our first talks on brain healthy lifestyles about 14 years ago to New England Chinese Women’s group and staff of the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, sponsored by Ruth Moy, the leader of both organizations.

Prof. Bei Wu of Duke Univ.
Prof. Bei Wu of Duke Univ. speaking at U Mass Boston 2012
Nancy with her mentor Xui Wen Zhang & her daughter Jing Chang
Nancy with her mentor Prof. Xui Wen Zhang & her daughter Jing Chang
celebrating at Greater Boston Golden Age Center 40th Anniversary Dinner May 23, 2012


Chef Nick Polinsky
Chef Nick Polinsky

And here is an example of the “fruits of our labors”…. a fabulous assortment of brain healthy foods served at Neville Place’s 10th Anniversary Party on May 17, 2012. Executive Chef Nick Polinsky used his superior skills to create a delicious, beautiful array of foods following the evidence-based Memory Preservation Nutrition® program which is being implemented for the residents at Neville Place in Cambridge.Some of the recipesare on our website (nut pate, avocado spinach dip, hummus, date nut truffles etc.)

Clear Fruit Corner Use this One
Appetizer Table at Neville Place

© 2012 HCI

Note the beautiful flower vases where the bases are comprised of real fruits and vegetables in the water. Look for additional photos coming soon on the website.

Vegetable corner of Appetizer Display
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