A research team at the National University of Singapore studied mushroom consumption to determine possible beneficial health effects. From the study: “Emerging evidence has suggested that mushrooms may have neuroprotective properties”. The researchers from the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Psychological Medicine followed 663 older adults for six years for evidence of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s Disease. They found that the adults eating mushrooms two or more times per week were less likely to experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The reduction in risk was significant: up to 50% less likely to experience MCI. The mushrooms consumed included button, shiitake, oyster and golden, leading the researchers to conclude there is a common agent involved. Research links here and here.
Individuals with MCI generally lead normal lives, but note that they frequently have mental lapses, forgetting names, where they left their wallet and so on. Some cases of MCI do eventually become dementia.
Study author Lei Feng, Assistant Professor at the University of Singapore’s Department of Psychological Medicine noted: “This correlation is surprising and encouraging. It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline”.