An apple a day

By Herbert Vego

YOU have heard and read it a thousand times: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

The proverbial advice to eat an apple a day is believed to have appeared in print first in 1866. It conveyed the idea that apple eaters pay fewer visits to doctors than non-apple eaters.

But what got me interested about apple was whether it could reverse my diminishing ability to remember words, including names of familiar friends and colleagues. Am I treading the path to dementia, euphemistically called “senior moments”?

I have known of people who died of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), medical term for progressive memory loss.

There was a time when I consulted a doctor on what drug to take to prevent AD. I had heard about such drugs as Alzhemed and Flurizan.

“Keep writing your newspaper column,” she suggested, insinuating that I was on the right track of slowing down memory loss.

“What about that advertised food supplement,” I asked, referring to a three-word brand ending in “gold”.

“Better eat apples instead,” she snapped. “An apple a day prevents memory loss.”

I thought she was joking until a few days later when she handed me a printed study on the memory-enhancing effects of apples done by a team of medical professors at the University of Massachusetts. The study was originally published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.

The team led by Dr. Thomas Shea wrapped up their study with the conclusion that apples may really have huge health benefits, especially for folks fighting the effects of AD.

Dr. Shea, incidentally, is director of the university’s Center for Cellular Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration. A leading pioneer on the subject, he has studied the brain-boosting effects of apples on brain health for over a decade.

Dr. Shea’s research team studied 21 patients between the ages of 72 and 93 who had moderate-to-severe AD. He gave them two four-ounce glasses of apple juice each day for a month. After just 30 days, his team noted major changes in mood and behavior. Changes included improvement in anxiety, depression and delusion.

“In addition to changes in memory, there’s a change in mood that often accompanies AD,” wrote Dr. Shea. “We found that people receiving apple juice displayed fewer of the symptoms. It kept their minds functioning at their best.”

Dr. Shea’s study also included testing mice in a series of maze trials. He gave them two glasses of fresh apple juice each day for 30 days. He then put them through a series of traditional tests involving repetitive entries/exits through a maze together with “un-appled” mice. The mice that drank apple juice took less time to memorize the right exit points.

The results backed up his theory. The mice produced less “beta amyloid” – the protein fragment which forms “senile plaques” – which are often found in the brains of people with AD.

His team also proved beyond doubt that natural apple juice – not the synthetic canned ones – increases the production of a brain transmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine helps slow the mental decline of people with AD.

A natural apple juice is a blend of the entire fruit parts, including its skin, core and crushed seeds that have the highest concentration of natural antioxidants.

Many other studies say that an effective brain-boosting plan should include antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies and fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.



DOES the opposition of the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) to the expansion of MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) stand on solid ground?

A bill already authored by Representatives Michael Gorriceta (Second District, Iloilo), Braeden John Biron (Fourth District) and Julienne Baronda (Iloilo City) would place Passi City and 15 towns – Alimodian, Leganes, Leon, New Lucena, Pavia, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Zarraga, Anilao, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Dingle, Duenas, Dumangas and San Enrique – energized by MORE Power.  They are currently served by any of the three branches of Iloilo Electric Cooperative (ILECO).

The bill has passed the House. A corresponding one in the Senate is now awaiting plenary discussion.

PHILRECA believes that MORE Power is estopped from expanding to ILECO’s franchise areas because “it would violate RA 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira), and RA 638, or the National Electrification Administration Act.”

However, MORE Power’s legal head, Alyana Babayen-on, has already debunked that view, citing the supremacy of the Constitution which, under Article 12, Section 11, “allows expansion of public utility franchise to Filipinos for not longer than 50 years if the public good so demands.”

The demand for “change power” was initiated by disgruntled residents of the aforesaid areas that are not well served by their present utility.

Lawyer Dominador Terson agrees with Babayen-on. He posted this comment on Facebook: “Read the case of Tawang Multi-Purpose Cooperative vs. La Trinidad Water District, GR No. 166471, March 22, 2011, which is instructive on granting of exclusive franchise. Thus, expansion of the coverage of MORE Power to other municipalities is constitutional and beneficial to the consumers.”