Medical Mysteries

Want to be a rocket scientist? Eat fish!

Written by Fred Hilton

You can’t figure out your income tax. You haven’t gotten the “Final Jeopardy” answer right in three months. And you have to get the 10-year-old kid next door to show you how to use your computer.

Obviously, the problem is that you have a serious shortage of smarts. But never fear, researchers have given us hope that there might be a simple—and tasty—way to get smarter. Just chow down on a nice piece of broiled salmon. Or enjoy a tuna fish sandwich. Or some nice baked cod. In fact, any kind of fish is supposed to help you get smarter—as long as you don’t fry it. Forget about those fish sticks.

The New York Times writes “researchers found that weekly consumption of baked or broiled fish—but not fried fish—was associated with larger gray matter volumes in areas of the brain responsible for memory and cognition.” The lead author of the study, Dr. Cyrus A. Raji, a radiology resident at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, says, “eating fish once a week—there was no additional benefit in eating more—and living a generally healthy lifestyle were enough.”

The Daily Mail cites research that shows people who eat a diet including fish have larger brain volumes. “Our study shows that people who ate a diet that included baked or broiled (grilled), but not fried, fish have larger brain volumes in regions associated with memory and cognition,” says Dr. James Becker, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Fish may be a “brain food” because of the natural pigment in salmon, shrimp, and crab called astaxanthin, or ASX, which has been shown to boost memory and mental sharpness. Researchers from Japan’s University of Tsukuba found that ASX is a strong antioxidant that improves both learning and memory. Lead researchers Hideaki Soya and Randeep Rakwal say ASX is a potent “brain food” that holds great promise as a food supplement.

Eat your fish and you might not have to ask that snotty little child for help with your computer.

But there’s even better news! My favorite invention of all time, the Bass-O-Matic, might now go into mass production and we all can enjoy a glass of bass. If you aren’t a “Saturday Night Live” fan and familiar with the Bass-O-Matic, you need to find the skit on the internet. It’s worth your time.

“Fish as Brain Food,” by Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, Aug. 20, 2014.
“New Study Shows That Fish Really Is Brain Food,” by Steven Salzberg, Forbes magazine, Feb. 8, 2016.
“Fish: The Ultimate Brain Food?” Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, Dublin, Ireland.
“Fish really IS brain food: Eating ANY type once a week is good for your memory,” by Sarah Griffiths, Daily Mail, Aug. 5, 2014.
“New Clues to Why Fish is ‘Brain Food’,” by Nick Tate, Newsmax, Feb. 25, 2016.





About the author

Fred Hilton

Fred Hilton spent thirty-six years as the chief public relations officer/spokesman for James Madison University in Virginia and ten years prior as a reporter and editor for The Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Virginia. He is now happily retired in The Villages with his interior designer wife, Leta, their Cadillac Escalade golf cart, and their dog, Paris. (Yes, that makes her Paris Hilton).

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