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New research presented at the November meeting of Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans suggests NutraSweet (or aspartame) could be linked to aspartame consumption. Researchers at a University in Fort Worth, Texas believe aspartame consumed in excess could cause certain kinds of memory loss.

Ninety students were studied and interviewed in one study. In this study their use of aspartame and memory problems were documented. The results, those that consumed aspartame regularly complained of forgetfulness related to various tasks they perform on a regular basis. They would forget to perform tasks at the time the tasks were scheduled to be performed. The students’ perceptions of their memory problems have yet to be backed up with concrete test results. Researchers tested students on short term memory with quizzes which tested the student’s ability to remember lists, phone numbers, and faces. Some of the researchers argued that this was not a real life test because all the students had similar results.

Head of the study Timothy Barth, PH.D., stated that measuring everyday memory is difficult to perform and recommended further research be done to test memory and behavior in subjects ingesting varying amounts of aspartame. As a result, researchers believe the occasional ingestion of aspartame will not cause memory problems that are noticeable. The students who reported problems were consuming at least four diet drinks per day.

The brain has an amazing ability to protect its self from small amounts of aspartame, but large amounts along with stress can have adverse affects on the brain. Children, the elderly, and those with brain injuries are most at risk. The researchers in these studies did comment that occasional consumption of aspartame is ok, but all the researchers performing the tests do not consume diet sodas at all.

If you are worried about the affects of aspartame on your body and are not sure you currently consume too much, cut aspartame out completely for a week or two and see if your memory improves. Other factors like diet can affect your memory; researchers at General Mills showed that eating breakfast can boost memory in studies on elderly and children. Researchers are unsure why breakfast boosts memory, possibly because we do not eat for 7 – 8 hours through the night. Further research needs to be preformed on how protein, fat, and carbohydrates affect memory.

One more factor that might preserve memory is an antioxidant rich diet. Several studies have shown positive results when one consume foods rich in antioxidants. It’s important to take vitamin A, C, and E in supplement form; these vitamins are great antioxidants which may help preserve memory. Also, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Great supplements like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E can be found at your local or internet health food store.

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