Milk does a brain good

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An observational study of 972 adults in Maine and the Syracuse, N.Y., area suggests there may be a positive correlation between dairy consumption and cognitive performance.    

Consumers of dairy products performed significantly better on tests of cognitive function than people who never or rarely consume dairy foods, according to Georgina Crichton, doctoral candidate at the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre at the University of South Australia.

That research was reported in the January 2012 issue of the International Dairy Journal.     

The study was observational in nature, where the researchers looked at diet and compared it to people’s performance on cognitive tests.

To better establish a cause-and-effect relationship between dairy products and cognitive performance, a randomized control trial is needed, Crichton said. And, such a study has recently been completed at the University of South Australia, she added.

In the randomized control trial, two groups were established among people with low dairy consumption (less than two servings of dairy per day). For six months, one group had its dairy intake increased to four servings per day. Then, the groups switched. 

In both cases, the group with higher dairy consumption had significantly better working memory, Crichton says.

“It’s still too early to start saying it’s a cause-and-effect relationship,” she said. 

There are a couple of possible explanations for the first of the two studies -- the observational research study involving Maine and New York residents.

  • The same people who do better on cognitive tests may also be the ones with better lifestyles and dietary habits.  
  • The vitamins and minerals in milk have a beneficial effect on cognitive performance.

 “Frequent dairy food intake is associated with better cognitive performance, but underlying causal mechanisms are still to be determined,” the researchers said.

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Natalia Roschina Billie Jean    
Berlin, Germany  |  September, 06, 2011 at 10:24 AM

What a lot of rubbish. Milk causes breast and other cancer with many, especially milk with chemicals in it, that were injected into cattle. It's time to change from dairy industry to healthy milk industry, and write about vegan types of milk. Cattle farming also creates global warming. Regards

Michael Dancer    
Shepherd, Michigan  |  September, 06, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Another poor brainwashed soul. I have been drinking milk for 62 years and I am as healthy as you can be. I have drank as much as two gallons of milk a day and probably avg. a quart a day. I also eat cheese almost everyday. I also put butter on my bread in my soups and cook my eggs in it. Did any of you people who believe in global warming ever go to school? The world has been warming up and cooling off since the begining of time.

Tom Krall    
Lebanon, Pa.  |  September, 06, 2011 at 01:06 PM

I am not surprised at the fact that milk is good for your whole body. It's God our Creators most balenced ready to eat food!

pa  |  September, 06, 2011 at 01:14 PM

Natalia, please site your peer reviewed, journal published sources for milk causing breast cancer and other cancer. Skip the vegan propaganda that is often short on data and facts that have been actually measured by unbiased researchers and instead uses sensational and fearful claims that have little to no scientific backing. Stay warm!

Jason Teixeira    
Modesto, California  |  September, 13, 2011 at 09:11 PM

Okay Natalia Roschina Billie Jean, stop Discouraging people when you don't even know what you are talking about. Also Dairy Milk is healthy milk Excellent source of calcium and Vitamin D.

Brunswick, Maine  |  September, 26, 2011 at 02:50 PM

Unfortunately, the author of this article undercut his/her case by failing to mention the vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 content of milk -- which is directly linked to the development of healthy nervous system functions, particularly brain cells. Milk is practically the only *natural* non-meat source of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Next time, please do your homework before putting out a case which is not as strong as you could make it with a little bit of research.

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