Brain Health and Wellness Center®

Newsletter© 2012 HealthCare Insights

In This Issue
Brain Foods for Thanksgiving
Latest on Lifestyle Interventions
Tips for a Brain Healthy Thanksgiving
Rare Mutation Gene realted to increase risk of AD
Quick Links


Boston Center for Memory


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  

 Brain Foods for Thanksgiving!

Issue: # 24 November 2012
Nancy Emerson Lombardo red headshot

Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

We at HealthCare Insights (Samantha, Cheryl, CC and myself) wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Two new studies which simultaneously report discovery of another (rare but potent) risk gene for Alzheimer’s related to both our immune systems and inflammation, further underscore the importance of foods and other healthy lifestyles that decrease inflammation in body and brain
In addition, the recent Simons Research Symposium  (see article) sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association featured non-drug related research-based suggestions for how we reduce risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline…lending yet more support to our brain healthy lifestyle programs.
Holidays mean getting together with friends, family, colleagues and clients to wish each other well, and to celebrate. And of course our celebrations feature delicious Healthy Foods and beautiful foods. Delicious and luscious looking foods can also be “brain healthy” with just a little extra thought.  Each of you can be a “point of light” in modeling how we each can make small changes toward brain healthier lifestyles.  To make it easier, we have summarized in our Thanksgiving article 10 easy ways you can show your inner circles how much you love them by serving brain foods at Thanksgiving or other holiday or celebration events.
And after that big TG dinner, take a nice walk if you can, to create new brain cells using the healthy foods you’ve just eaten!  All the conversations at the table and during the walk will help your new and old brain cells become better integrated.
Cayenne peppers & powder
And just for fun, check out my website for a short video clip and blog on why Hot Peppers are Brain Food.  Stay tuned for more details on these fun facts.
Also note that anyone ordering from my new website store at will receive a rebate check for 20% of their already discounted nutritional supplement order!   Or 20% discount for my private consultation services.

NEW CONVENIENTLY LOCATED CENTER FOR DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT in BOSTON:  I am pleased to mention as some of you have already happily discovered, Andrew Budson  MD that Dr. Andrew Budson, MD and Drs. Dr. Paul Solomon Solomon, Vassey and psychologist Murphy (all colleagues at the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center) have opened the Boston Center for Memory conveniently located on Rte 9 in Brookline at Reservoir Road ( 822 Boylston Street) , with free parking.  The Boston Center for Memory Dr. Elizabeth Vassey almost always can schedule an appointment for initial diagnostic workup within 1 month of your request by telephone or email. (

And as Dr. Oz fans learned this week, our local genetics hero Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. Rudi Tanzi, Ph.D. has co-authored an interesting book with another long time hero of mine, Deepak Chopra, Deepak and Rudy called “Super Brain.”  You can learn more about it on Dr. Oz‘s website and order it from

Our take? I don’t disagree with some of Deepak Chopra’s suggestions as being helpful (e.g. that our brains are amazingly plastic, that they can grow and change, we have different types of memory to help us work around deficits, and that meditation,  positive thinking, and good nutrition are all important for brain health).  But I think today’s interview with Deepak and the summary on Dr. Oz’s website oversimplifies the complexity of Alzheimer’s and implies it is easier to preserve our brains than it really is.  While I am happy to learn that Deepak Chopra recommends wheat germ, black currants and acorn squash as well as the herb sage

Sage leaf

Indian Gooseberry and Indian gooseberries (extracted or preserved as amalaki, hundreds of years-old Aruvedic herb), there are definitely more than a handful of super brain foods that we need to eat to preserve our brains.  James Joseph and others have shown that all berries are super brain foods, and other researchers around the world are building evidence that many herbs and spices are potent brain foods. Read the details at Memory Preservation Nutrition®  and the see articles below.

Meanwhile, why not use extra sage in the turkey stuffing! (and add lots of herbs and spices to every dish)  And while most of us can’t easily run out and buy Indian gooseberries or even black currents, you can serve mixed berries as a brain healthy appetizer or dessert, and include acorn or other winter squashes as a delicious side dish.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

© 2012 Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.



SimonsLatest on Lifestyle Interventions to Help Reduce Risk, Slow Alzheimer’s Disease © 2012 Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.
Kristine Yaffe, MD

At the 22nd Annual Matthew and Marcia Simons Research Symposium on Alzheimer’s Disease on Thursday, November 8, 2012, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, Kristine Yaffe, MD of University of California, San Francisco, presented “Non-Pharmacological Strategies for the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. ” There is currently more interest in non-drug approaches because recent attempts to find a pharmaceutical solution to prevent or dramatically slow AD have failed.


Dr. Yaffee reviewed research that shows staying physically and intellectually active, eating a brain healthy diet, and embracing a healthy lifestyle may help prevent and slow Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Yaffe’s survey of recent studies echoed the evidence often shared by Boston area’s own brain health expert, Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D., e.g. on her new website, a chapter on lifestyle and Alzheimer’s disease in Sage’s 2012 Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine and Health.


Nancy Emerson Lombardo red headshot During the past decade Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo has developed nutrition and lifestyle interventions for both treatment and lowering risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and to improve quality of life for all ages, particularly older adults. As many of our readers know, Dr. Emerson Lombardo has worked for over 30 years in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease and services for older adults. She is a founder of both the national Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Disease International. She is also a member of the American Society on Aging, and the International Academy of Nutrition and Aging.


Since we now know that AD is a chronic disease with many environmental and genetic factors, and that the abnormalities/pathology most likely begin 20-30 or more years before clinical symptoms appear, it makes sense to practice evidence-based brain healthy lifestyles as soon in one’s life as possible. Even if better drugs are discovered, chances are that side effects would argue against using them for decades before symptoms appear, unless one’s genetic profile suggested very high risk. And even though much drug research is targeting beta-amyloid, one of the two problem proteins that are hallmarks of AD, other researchers think other targets might yield better results as the exact causes and etiology of AD are not fully known. This continuing uncertainly is yet another reason to adopt brain healthy lifestyles that, especially when multiple lifestyles are practiced, target all known pathways to AD.


A large body of research studies have linked nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle approaches to the prevention and treatment of both cardio-vascular disease (and its risks such as hypertension, high LDL cholesterol, inflammation), stroke and diabetes and more recently shown how each of these chronic diseases in turn raise risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Logically then, Dr Nancy Emerson Lombardo and others recommend lifestyles that are both heart healthy and diabetes and stroke preventative.

What can you do to be “brain healthy?” Dr. Emerson Lombardo lists 11 domains of brain health™ for which we have some or substantial evidence. According to Dr. Yaffee and others, the best gold standard randomized clinical trial evidence to date is for #2 physical exercise and #3 mental stimulation. Close behind is evidence for adequate sleep (because that is when memories are transferred into a more permanent state) and treatment of depression. During a pre-Simon lecture presentation, Dr. Alireza Atri, MD, Ph.D. Dr. Ali Atri also shared evidence about importance of #5, social engagement. Both Drs. Yaffee and Atri agree with Dr. Emerson Lombardo that although we have yet to have sufficient “gold standard” clinical trial evidence, there is substantial pre-clinical and epidemiological evidence to suggest that a brain healthy diet, and perhaps combinations of nutrients, rather than single stand alone nutrients, will be proven to be essential to reducing risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Dr. Emerson Lombardo’s Memory Preservation Nutrition® is uniquely based on all the nutritional evidence reported to date.


The Eleven Evidence-based Domains of Brain Health (To learn more about each, follow links to relevant pages of our website)

(1)Nutrition and Hydration: Memory Preservation Nutrition®

(2)Physical Exercise

(3)Mental & Cognitive Stimulation including Cognitive Education/The Serper Method™, Memory Techniques & Medication Management; cognitive training & cognitive/kinetic methods.

(4)Management of Stress and Depression

(5)Social Engagement & Support

(6)Sleep – needed for memory to be stored

(7)Balanced Chi (Energy)

(8)Music (listening to and playing music) and Other Creative Arts & crafts, story-telling.

(9)Spiritual Practices – Pray, Meditate, Forgive, Let Go, Be Kind & Loving, Practice Gratitude, Be Positive

(10)Humor, Fun, Laughter & Joy

(11)  Sense of Meaning and Purpose in Life


Here are some more details on one of these 11 domains, Nutrition.  Then read a related article on how to apply some of these ideas to your Thanksgiving dinner preparations.




Nutrition is one of the 11 domains for a brain healthy lifestyle. What we eat is important. Brain healthy nutrition is key to good memory.  Red MPN Vegetables


Dr. Emerson Lombardo’s most important recent effort is the development of Memory Preservation Nutrition® (MPN™), a nutritional program for the dual purposes of helping people reduce their own risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and to slow progression and improve the lives of persons who have already living with Alzheimer’s’. She is currently implementing her Memory Preservation Nutrition® program in several Assisted Living residences. She also works with individuals and families to help them assess all 11 lifestyles, and to implement the MPN™ step by step in their own lives. Omega 3 Foods 2


The Memory Preservation Nutrition® program is easy to fit your particular situation and food preferences. We help you know:

* WHAT to eat
* WHY it is important to you
* HOW to develop strategies and plans and actually adopt brain healthy eating habits


The Memory Preservation Nutrition® program benefits adults and children, alerting people which foods are “brain foods” and which are “brain busters.” Research indicates that proper nutrition is essential to defend against brain deterioration caused by aging and disease. Vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, spices and herbs, as well as fish and sources of Omega-3’s, are among the fundamentals of the Memory Preservation Nutrition® program.  This nutritional program is high in anti-oxidants, and in foods that are anti-inflammatory and safe for diabetics, and heart healthy. It is no coincidence that these  Herbs and Spices same foods help reduce risk of cancer, arthritis pain, digestive issues and other chronic diseases. The health of our brain is tied in to the health of every other organ in our body.


While it is recommended to get nutrition from whole foods, nutritional supplements should be considered. This includes supplements designed to:

1) reduce inflammation in brain and body, including joint pain and “morning stiffness.”

2) help support healthy digestion and relieve stomach issues,

3) support memory, attention, and decision-making,

4) enhance bone strength,

5) help relieve or reduce frequency of headaches,

6) support emotional health. Carrot soup


Our favorite supplements rely on whole food-based juices or extracts (spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits, whole grains), fish or other non-fish marine oils rich in DHA and EPA Omega-3’s. Dr. Emerson Lombardo suggests that while neither multi-vitamins nor most stand alone vitamins have proven to be helpful, there are three that are essential to brain health and often need supplementation: B (all B’s in a complex vitamin), D and E (the only one worth taking is vitamin E with all 8 tocopherols and tocotrienols). To learn more about what Dr. Emerson Lombardo recommends, see her website


Thanksgiving Tips For Delicious Thanksgiving Holiday Brain Foods  © 2012 Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.
Thanksgiving TurkeyAt Thanksgiving time we share food with the people we care about the most – family and friends, as well as work colleagues and clients. So why not make our holiday foods healthy as well as delicious.

Holiday brain food ideas follow the Memory Preservation Nutrition® program developed by Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo based on the latest evidence. Research shows that brain foods can boost your brain health at ANY age. Our team at HealthCare Insights, LLC, and the talented chefs at Assisted Living communities implementing the Memory Preservation Nutrition® program, enhance these ideas and sample recipes with their own cooking skills to create scrumptious foods. We’d like to share some of these ideas for the holidays. Actual recipes can be found at and Senior Living Residences. 

For brain healthier meals for family holidays: serve

MPN Foods
Brain Foods

brain boosters instead of brain busters.         


Here’s how:

  • Add nutritious ingredients such as foods full of anti-oxidants, that are anti-inflammatory, and that help us lower, rather than raise, our blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. To do this: Add more vegetables, spices, herbs and other plant foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, especially leafy green vegetables.
  • Use fewer animal foods and more fish and seafood
  • Limit brain busters in your recipes: sugar, white flour, white rice, refined starches, processed foods, salt and saturated and especially trans fats.
  • Let your family and friends know you love them enough to go the extra mile, maybe trying out something new and equally delicious to what they are used to.
  • Adapt favorite family recipes and make them more brain and body healthy.


Here are some specific ideas to preserve brain power:  


1)Make Your Sweets Nutritious

Whenever you are offering a dish with sugar, offset that sugar with have healthy ingredients such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and spices, herbs, and ideally some protein and healthy fats as well. Examples include: Fresh whole fruits, Berries  Greek yogurt parfaits, Yogurt Berry Parfait   dark chocolate truffles Chocolate Dessert Tray , apple crisp

Apple Crisp

, fruit pies, or fruit & nut breads made with whole wheat pastry flour, trans-fat-free healthy fats, and natural sugar substitutes. (see for recipes). To be brain healthy for everyone, choose dishes that would be safe for a person who is diabetic. Foods that spike our blood sugar are especially damaging to the brain and our memory. Instead of sugar & corn syrup, try safe zero calorie natural sweeteners such as stevia, Truvia®, Purevia®, or lower glycemic index coconut sugar. Use Nancy's Holiday Cranberry Sauce these also in your cranberry sauceinstead of sugar.


2)Serve Brain Healthy Appetizers

  • Limit the amount of appetizers that are loaded with salt or saturated fats, and processed foods. Especially avoid red colored meats with nitrates (such as corned bAvocado and Almondseef, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, ham, and bacon). Avoid foods with ingredients such as transfats, high fructose corn syrup, and other refined sugars. Suggestions include shrimp, scallops, healthy dips (see below), lean turkey/chicken sates, veggie sticks,    olives,  Olives artichokes, avocados, nuts and fruits.   
  • Avoid ANYTHING with “partially hydrogenated” on the list of ingredients even if the Nutrition Facts declare no or 0% trans fats.
  • Look for whole wheat or whole grain crackers and pita chips. Plain original Triscuits are whole wheat with no additives (avoid the newer “spice” ones which are full of additives). “Annie’s” little whole wheat bunny crackers are popular. Vegetable Crudite
  • Include vegetables, such as cut up vegetables dipped in healthy dips such as humus and guacamole, or use yogurt in your dips.

3) Serve Brainy Beverages: Use water, fruit juice, natural mineral waters or smoothies. Skip the soda. Skip any sugar-added beverage (read the label of the juices you buy! Anything that says fruit cocktail or that doesn’t say “100% fruit juice” has added sugar.)

  • Make sure everyone is offered a glass or bottle of water water.
  • Offer iced or hot tea (GREEN or black) if you have tea lovers in your group. Coffee is OK.
  • Offer cinnamon for coffee or tea as alternative to cream or sugar.

4) Make Your Smoothies “Green”

Take your favorite fruit based smoothie and make it healthier by adding some greens (e.g. kale, romaine, parsley, spinach) to your mixture before blending.


5) Serve Brain and Heart Healthy Soups

For flavor use herbs and spices and extra vegetables, instead of salt or fat.


6) Include a Fresh Green Salad;       Spinach salad with nuts  


7) Serve a Cooked Green Leafy Vegetable along with whatever other vegetables you traditionally serve. Leafy green vegetables are stars among vegetables for brain health. (Brussels sprouts Brussels sprouts and broccoli count!)   


8) Make Your “Carb” Dishes Beige/Brown Instead Of White

Cauliflower mash (and try adding cauliflower to your mashed potatoes (50-50 or 100% cauliflower! ) 


9) In Your Sweet Potato or Yam Dishes, Use Non-Sugar Natural Sweeteners

(i.e. stevia, Truvia or Purevia, or try coconut sugar or Truvia raw honey instead of sugar or brown sugar)


10) Use Lots More Herbs and Spices in Everything You Cook (while using less salt and sugar) to add more nutrition and more flavor. use lots of herbs & spices every day!


If some of the listed brain foods leave you curious as to WHY the Memory Preservation Nutrition® program recommends them, go to Answers to some whys for some Memory Preservation Nutrition Programs Recommended ingredients.


TREM2Rare Mutation of TREM2 Gene Related to Immune System and Inflammation Increases Risk of AD  © 2012 Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.
Two different international groups of researchers independently and almost simultaneously discovered a rare mutation of an Immune System related gene named TREM2 increases risk of AD either 3-fold (the Icelandic group led by Kari Stefansson at DeCode Genetics) or 5-fold (the UK international group led by Alzheimer Genetic Analysis Group & John Hardy at the UCL Institute of Neurology, London).  Their findings are reported in the New England Journal of Medicine November 14 2012 on line edition.

For the gene TREM2, certain loss-of-function mutations had previously been associated with an autosomal recessive form of early-onset dementia.


inst neurology univ college london The UK/USA group looked at 1092 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 1107 controls (the discovery set)  to identify the TREM2 mutant genes/alleles, and also did meta-analyses and looked at unrelated databases of patients and controls to replicate and verify their initial findings.  This group also NIH assayed the expression of TREM2 across different regions of the human brain and looked at differential gene expression in AD and control mice to clarify genetic mutations and disease mechanisms.(Multiple funders including several in UK, NIA, NINDS)


Iceland group found that the Immune System related rare gene TREM2 increases risk of AD 3-fold.  In the study, researchers from DeCode Genetics analyzed 2,261 Icelanders and found those with a variant, or defect, on a gene called TREM2 had almost a three times higher likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease than those without the mutation. The scientists also tested a combined 2,000 people in four other groups from the U.S. and Europe, NIA finding similar results.(multiple funders including NIA.)


The Icelandic researchers determined that carriers of the mutation who were at least 80 years old and without Alzheimer’s disease had poorer cognitive function than their unmutated peers. Authors conclude, ” Our findings strongly implicate variant TREM2 in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Given the reported anti-inflammatory role of TREM2 in the brain, the R47H substitution may lead to an increased predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease through impaired containment of inflammatory processes. (Funded by the National Institute on Aging and others.)   Check out the full article at New England Journal of Medicine.


According to Andrew Budson Andrew Budson  MD , MD of the BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Boston Memory Clinic who studied with him, over a decade ago Dr. Stefansson began by asking the question, how are 75 year olds newly admitted to nursing homes with dementia, different from 85 year olds with same condition.  Dr. Steffansson’s genetic research has led to uncovering several chronic disease related genes.


These two studies further underscore the importance of foods and other healthy lifestyles that decrease inflammation in body and brain. See for more details on how the Memory Preservation Nutrition® is designed to reduce inflammation. Regular physical exercise also reduces inflammation; smoking increases it.


Check out our brain health blog to see the abstracts from each article as well.


Nancy is available to answer your questions via e-mail or telephone.   




Many brain healthy and anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant supplements and vitamins are available to be purchased,  as well as  reading materials and services from Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo. In addition to ordering on line you may email Dr. Emerson Lombardo directly to order and pay by check.


Look for Dr. Emerson Lombardo’s 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


© 2012 HCI

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One Comment

  1. 6-18-2013

    I could not refrаin frοm commenting.
    Perfectlу written!

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