Thursday, September 10, 2009

Colorado's Extra Brainy

There might be a good explanation for why you and all your friends seem so doggoned smart that has nothing to do with watching quiz shows like “Jeopardy!” or “So You Think You’re Smarter Than a 5th-Grader?”

According to a new study by Martek Biosciences and Michael Roizen, M.D., a best-selling health author and chairman of the RealAge Scientific Advisory Board, Colorado ranks sixth in the nation in brain health.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia—you knew it wasn’t a state, right?—were evaluated on 21 indicators of brain health, including diet, physical health, mental health and social well-being. The top 10 areas on the list were the top-ranked District of Columbia, followed by Maryland, Washington state, Vermont, Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maine and New Hampshire.

Colorado and Washington were the only two states west of the Mississippi to make the top 10. The only two areas in the elite group that were also below the Mason-Dixon line—look it up if you don’t know what it is, smarty-pants—were Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The bottom 10 states in the brain-health survey were West Virginia, Iowa, North Dakota, South Carolina, Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama and, dead last, Louisiana.

Coloradans ranked high in the study for several reasons: We consume relatively high amounts of DHA Omega-3 fatty acids from fortified foods, supplements and fish; we have a low prevalence of diabetes; and we have a low prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.

But don’t get too cocky about the study. It also found Colorado has a low rate of health insurance coverage, and relatively low involvement in religious/spiritual/community activities shown to boost brain health.

—Michael Whiteman-Jones

Brain photo by Studio Araminta

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