A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Posts Tagged ‘brain supplements’

Apples, mice, men and miracles

Posted by apgaylard on January 24, 2009

bigstockphoto_apple_with_faucet_pouring_appl_3287143I was slightly bleary-eyed this morning as the BBC Breakfast review of today’s papers showed the Daily Express shouting from its front page, “MIRACLE OF APPLE JUICE – It keeps the brain healthy and can delay Alzheimer’s“.  That would be amazing if true.  The problem is: nobody knows whether this is really true, yet. 

Actually reading the story revealed the inevitable – an extrapolation from an animal model.  The research was done on mice, not men

Looking at the Express‘s coverage, the article doesn’t mention this key detail until its sixth paragraph, 

“The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, shows that drinking ­apple juice helped mice to perform better at finding their way through a maze and prevented the decline in performance that was usually seen as they aged. “

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Posted in Science Journalism | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Ginkgo biloba …what is it good for?

Posted by apgaylard on November 16, 2008

holland-and-barrett-ginkgo-bilboa-addHolland and Barrett have recently taken the opportunity to pitch me the idea, via an e-mail, that Ginkgo Bilobahelps the maintenance of good cognitive function.”   Their web page contains a more detailed and specific claim: 

“Today nutritionists are taking a closer look at this wonderful herb because it has been used for many years throughout Europe. Supports the maintenance of good cognitive function and healthy circulation which helps to maintain memory with age decline.”

Interestingly the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) tells me that they have, “… accepted that this particular product can, in the short term, help with the maintenance of memory in healthy individuals.”  This acceptance seems, to me to extend beyond the “age decline” claim of Holland and Barrett. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Supplements | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

How low can you go?

Posted by apgaylard on October 13, 2008


Holland & Barrett have very kindly sent me a special offer for ‘World Mental Health Day‘ inviting me to, “save 50% on brain supplements”.   It’s a very colourful e-mail, as you can see. 

This seems wrong on two levels; first just piggy-backing on a charitable activity with no attempt to promote the aims of the event seems ethically suspect.  But, perhaps I’m just a sensitive type?  Second, I can’t for the life of me see what this selection of vitamins, minerals and an aromatherapy oil has to do with either the brain or good mental health! 

Just to make sure that this wasn’t a grumpy knee-jerk sceptical reaction I plugged the substances into the search engine on the Cochrane library site, to see if there was any reasonable evidence to link these products to this event. 

I started with Cochrane reviews and cast my net quite widely into the areas of mental health along with Holland & Barrett’s claims; here’s what I found (quotes from the plain language summaries –emphasis mine): 

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Posted in Supplements | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »