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SRQ DAILY May 13, 2020

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"Understanding what causes brain health problems and how best to prevent brain disease remains one of the biggest medical mysteries of our time."

- Dr. Erin Dunn, Brain Health Initiative

[Wellness]  Scientists Ask Members of Lakewood Ranch Community to Participate in Brain Health Pilot Study
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Coming this spring, the Brain Health Initiative (BHI) will kick off phase two its pilot study. The BHI’s ‘Longitudinal Study’ will be looking to select adult residents of Lakewood Ranch at random—examining their minds and the ways they function mentally, socially, cognitively, and overall. Factors in resident’s lives that present risk or promote resilience in brain health and performance will also be taken into account. 

Epidemiologist and Research Director of the BHI, Dr. Erin Dunn, shares that the randomly selected individuals of the community will be asked to participate in a confidential questionnaire online about their health, lifestyle and well-being. The web-based survey includes questions about health habits, medical conditions, social relationships, recreational activities, and experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing information about demographics and health behaviors such as exercise, nutrition, smoking, alcohol usage and sleep patterns will be inclusive in the study as well. Lastly, participants will be asked to complete a series of computer games to examine their cognitive thinking and performance

Neuropsychologist, founder and Executive Director of the BHI, Dr. Stephanie Peabody, encourages residents who receive a recruitment letter to “stand up for their own brain health.” By participating in the study, they will be helping to inform the science that is essential to promote brain health, fight brain illness and optimize performance.

“Community participation is a critical component of the BHI,” says Dr. Peabody. “The pilot study will help us capture risk and protective factors linked to brain health across multiple domains, including biological, psychological, behavioral, cognitive, and social factors. We will be incorporating key ‘lessons learned’ from other successful community-based, population health projects, including the Framingham Heart Study, and Shape Up Somerville to identify ways to protect our brain health across the lifespan at the individual and community level.” 

The survey data collected during this pilot study will serve as the basis for the next planned phase. According to Dr. Peabody, phase three will focus on a long-term study of brain health across the entire Florida Suncoast region. A larger portion of the region’s residents, as well as visitors (young and older), will have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials at the Brain Health Innovation Lab. 

“Understanding what causes brain health problems and how best to prevent brain disease remains one of the biggest medical mysteries of our time,” says Dr. Dunn. “Especially nowwhen discoveries related to the brain are critically needed worldwide–I hope every community member who is contacted will step-up to help our team of scientists, and our region, by participating in this study.” 

Learn more about the Brain Health Initiative here.

[Science]  Pregnant Manatee Rescued by Mote Marine

Thanks to a collaborative rescue effort over the weekend, two manatees may have second chances at life. A pregnant manatee was rescued by Mote Marine Laboratory and partners, and taken to SeaWorld Orlando, where the manatee has since given birth to a calf.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day, May 9, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Stranding Biologist Jess Blackburn, along with Sarasota Police Department Marine Patrol Officer Michael Skinner, responded to a call to Mote’s 24/7 Stranding Investigations Program hotline (941-988-0212) about a distressed manatee near Harbor Towers Yacht & Racquet Club on Siesta Key. The manatee was exhibiting abnormal behavior, including not being able to dive properly. Upon arriving at the scene, Blackburn realized the manatee was the same individual she had received calls about and searched for the day before, and quickly contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to begin to stage a rescue effort for the manatee.

“Immediately, I noticed that the manatee was listing to one side, and had both healed and fresh boat strike wounds,” said Blackburn. “Those kinds of wounds likely caused air to be trapped in the manatee’s chest cavity, making it difficult for the animal to submerge efficiently. Given the busy area and heavy boat traffic, we knew it would be very difficult for her to avoid any other potential boat collisions.”

After Mote’s initial response, FWC led the rescue effort, as additional trained responders from Mote, Sarasota Police Department, and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office descended upon the scene to assist the manatee. A crowd gathered on the shoreline to watch the action. The manatee was safely netted onto a boat and transferred into a transport truck–—no small feat with a nearly 1,700-pound animal—headed for rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando, one of four critical care facilities for manatees in the state of Florida and a member of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP).

“The Sarasota Police Department Marine Patrol officers as well as other patrol officers have an ongoing partnership with Mote’s Stranding Investigations team,” said Sarasota Police Officer Michael Skinner. “Over the weekend, we were called to assist with an injured manatee along with our partners at Mote, FWC and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. We all work together on the road and on the water. We hate to see injured wildlife in our waterways but we’re hoping this team effort was enough to help give this manatee a second chance.”

“It was an amazing opportunity to rescue, along with partners from Mote, FWC law enforcement, Sarasota Police Department and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, an expectant mother manatee on Mother’s Day weekend,” said Denise Boyd, Marine Mammal Research Associate at FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “They are being taken care of by the animal care team at SeaWorld Orlando, and we are hopeful for a successful outcome. This rescue highlights the partnerships that are critical in manatee conservation efforts. Please remember to wear polarized glasses and be on the lookout for manatees while boating. Please report dead or distressed marine mammals to allow trained experts to respond.”

During the veterinarian exam at SeaWorld Orlando, the animal was found to be pregnant. On Tuesday, May 12, the manatee gave birth to a healthy calf. SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation team continues to monitor both mother and calf around the clock. The mother manatee is being treated for her injuries, and although stable, she is still in critical condition.

“After getting the call, our team reacted quickly to accept this manatee into our care and our team of veterinarians at the SeaWorld Manatee Rehabilitation Center is providing around the clock surveillance,” said Jon Peterson, Vice President Zoological Operations, SeaWorld Orlando. “Our facility is only one of four in Florida designated for critical care of manatees and we work tirelessly with the goal of rehabilitating and returning rescued manatees to the wild.” This is the 17th manatee to be treated at SeaWorld in 2020.

“These are the good days. When all of our partners come together, from our city, county, and state law enforcement officers, to the FWC stranding biologists that led the rescue, to the SeaWorld Orlando team now caring for her and her calf, it is our stranding network at its finest,” said Gretchen Lovewell, Manager of Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program. “I also want to thank the members of the public who reported the animal. Please, always remember to call us for any distressed or deceased marine mammal or sea turtle in the Sarasota and Manatee County area, and FWC throughout the rest of Florida.” 

Pictured: Left, Responders from Mote, FWC and local law enforcement bring the manatee to shore to be put on a transport truck, photo by Sarasota Police Department. Right: Injured manatee had both older and fresh boat strike wounds on its back, photo by Mo

Click for more.

[Giving Back]  Community Comes Together to Support Children and Families in Need

Children First is proud to announce that 330 members of our community came together to raise $85,010 during the 2020 Giving Challenge, hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. All giving is inclusive of a 1:1 match provided by the Patterson Foundation, and a $30,000 ‘match on top of the match’ provided by the COVID-19 Response Initiative of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.

Children First was awarded an additional $20,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Truist Foundation through the COVID-19 Response Initiative. The COVID-19 Response Initiative is a community-wide effort to support leading health, human-service, and safety organizations facing increased demand for services right now and in the coming months.

Additional vital community support includes: $10,000 from the United Way Suncoast COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund directed by PNC Bank, $7,130 from All Angels Episcopal Church, $5,000 from the Venice Yacht Club, and $1,210 from Gran Paradiso with matching support from Dick and Deborah Miller for emergency and critical needs relief. The agency also received a grant of $7,400 from the Plantation Community Foundation for its award-winning Families First Institute.

Children First is using this support to keep its more than 200 staff members working to ensure continued delivery of crucial services to its children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March 16th, the agency has provided supplemental food packages, diapers and wipes, infant formula, and financial assistance to more than 475 families as the number of families facing job loss and reduced work hours continues to rise. All children are receiving virtual classroom support as well as at-home educational kits prepared by their teachers.

The agency’s Families First Institute has launched its first-ever virtual classes in order to keep parents and families engaged and learning alongside their children, and its Mental Health and Comprehensive Services teams are providing tele-therapy sessions for all children with diagnosed disabilities and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Staff are hosting bi-lingual, virtual support groups for parents and staff every week.

“Our goal is to provide information and strategies to Spanish-speaking parents so that they can overcome the COVID-19 situation with knowledge and strategies and be stress-free. Parents are using virtual platforms as time to let off steam, laugh, interact with others, and learn,” says Family Advocate Denise Pacheco.

Says CEO Philip Tavill, “Our commitment to our community has never been greater, and our community’s response has been overwhelmingly positive. We are so grateful for the support that allows us to keep our mission at the forefront and our services running at the highest possible level for our children and families living at-risk.” 

[Philanthropy]  Community Day School Receives $50,000 for Scholarships

The COVID-19 crisis has hit many area families financially, with reduced hours, lost jobs and shuttered businesses. At Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, a local private Jewish day school serving students of all faiths in preschool through eighth grade, there are students now at risk of not being able to afford tuition costs. Thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from the Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse Family Foundation, starting in the 2020-2021 school year, Community Day School will have a bigger safety net for families who may never have needed scholarship support in the past.

Two funds of $25,000 have been created through the gift from the Culverhouse Family Foundation. The Eliza Perlmutter Culverhouse Scholarship Fund will provide need-based assistance for qualified families. The Eliza Perlmutter Culverhouse Assistance Fund for Educators will offer need-based assistance for qualified families for the children of educators.

The Culverhouses are happy to provide this crucial support at a time when many are experiencing completely new challenges due to COVID-19. “I have been thinking about what we could do to help – unfortunately, this pandemic is going to affect our community for years,” Eliza said. “People have lost jobs and their businesses; it’s time to come together and help. We hope that this gift will enable families to feel better because there are people out there willing to help – they have a lifeline at Community Day.”

Although its fundraising efforts have been significantly hampered due to the negative financial impacts of the coronavirus, Community Day School has ratcheted up existing support mechanisms to help families who are struggling. According to the Florida Council of Independent Schools, Community Day is one of the few accredited independent schools in the State of Florida providing tuition credits to families during this crisis.

Head of School Dan Ceaser estimates that the school has awarded as much as $70,000 in program credits and new or increased need-based financial aid requests since mid-March.

“Our school has always been committed to providing financial aid for deserving families – this funding benefits our entire CDS family, ensuring we remain diverse and accessible,” Ceaser said. “The coronavirus pandemic has changed the financial circumstances for many in our community and the need is only going to increase through the next school year. We are so grateful to Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse for seeing and addressing a need, and for their incredible caring and generosity during these challenging times.”

The twin grandsons of the Culverhouses attended preschool at Community Day School several years ago; Eliza reports that they loved it there. Eliza’s family – the Perlmutters – helped to found Temple Beth Am in Miami. Eliza says that she’ll always remember how it felt to see students of teachers – even with the price reduction for faculty members – have to leave the school after the economic downturn in 2009. In 2016, the Culverhouses made a significant gift to establish a need-based scholarship fund for children attending Temple Beth Am Day School.

“I hope our gift will encourage other community members to match or step up in any capacity because people are going to need our help for a while,” Eliza said. “The education that children receive at Community Day School is superior – it would be heartbreaking to see even one student have to leave.” 

Pictured: Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse.

[Theater]  Florida Studio Theatre Launches National New Play Development Initiative

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce the launch of The Playwrights Project, an artistic initiative employing 32 of the country’s top playwrights, sketch comedy writers, and musical theatre developers. With funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), FST has hired these artists as full-time staff writers. The material generated during this time will be considered for future production in FST’s Mainstage, Cabaret, Sketch Comedy, and Children’s Theatre programs.

“The Project was conceived within the first few days of the theatre shutting down due to COVID-19,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s Producing Artistic Director. “FST, like the rest of our nation, was brought to a sudden standstill. Three days after closing the theatre, I had a revelation about Shakespeare—he, like every good artist, instead of following the dark and writing about the plagues of his time, took the road less traveled and followed the light. He wrote, without judgment, about the wonder of humankind. Which made me think that now is the time for FST to inspire the creation of plays. To ask playwrights to write like Shakespeare and reveal humanity’s complexities without judgment.

“FST is serving as a light during this uncertain time,” said Sandy Rustin, an actress and award-winning playwright participating in the Project. “I am beyond grateful for FST’s continued and ongoing support of me and my work. I cannot express how much it means to me—especially now.”

“I'm honored to be a part of this Project,” shared Carole J. Bufford, one of the most in-demand young performers in New York’s cabaret and jazz scene. “It is a blessing to have work at all during such a tumultuous time. Knowing that FST has brought together so many artists to create new works is equal parts thrilling and comforting. Art will always prevail. We need it to challenge our minds, to escape our reality, to delight and take joy in, to celebrate the past, and to forge a new path into the future.”

Florida Studio Theatre is partnering with theatres across the country to bring new plays to fruition. Arizona Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Sean Daniels (The White Chip, The Haunted Life) will collaborate with FST’s artistic staff to develop Tampa, following two brothers who, though they are bound by blood, take different paths through life.

Thomas Gibbons (Permanent Collection, Bee-luther-hatchee), the playwright in residence for Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company, will work with Kate Alexander, FST’s Associate Director At-Large, on a new play exploring the dilemmas that arise with the prevalence of digital manipulation.

In conjunction with FST Associate Artist Jason Cannon, Mark St. Germain (Relativity, Dancing Lessons), an Associate Artist at Barrington Stage Company, is developing a historical drama about the real-life meeting of Frederick Douglass and John Brown before Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry during the Civil War.

Kenneth Jones, a New York-based playwright, librettist, and lyricist, will also join forces with FST’s Kate Alexander to create an original play about a family business in Southern America that is at a crossroads.

“My play, Alabama Story, was slated to have three productions in Spring 2020,” said Jones. “Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Those productions were scuttled and resulted in a profound and immediate loss of income for me. It felt like a miracle when FST offered me the chance to work on a new script.”

In addition to working as staff writers, Playwrights Project artists will enhance FST’s online educational offerings by leading workshops, tutorials, and contributing to virtual classes. The artists will also participate in on 

[Re-Openings]  Designing Women Boutique Opens Wednesday, May 13

Designing Women Boutique will be opening its doors today. Their May hours will be Monday-Friday 10am-5pm and closed on Saturdays. Additional safeguards will be put into place including the following: all areas of the boutique have been professionally sanitized and disinfected, staff will be masked and they will have extras just in case shopped forget their own, a shield has been placed in front of the register, no more than 10 people are admitted into the boutique at any one time including staff, there is a hand sanitizing station, no cash transactions will be taken for the time being, clothes that have been tried on will not go back on the sales floor for 24 hours and for the month of May, the boutique will be closed on Saturdays.  

Pictured: Merry Maids of Sarasota.

[Staff Announcement]  Kerkering Barberio Welcomes Tax Manager

Kerkering, Barberio & Co., Certified Public Accountants, is pleased to announce that Joe Rendon has joined the firm as a Tax Manager on the International Tax Team. Joe received his master’s degree in accountancy from the University of South Florida and his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas Christian University. Joe has 25 years of extensive experience in International, Federal, State and Local, and Partnership Taxation. “We are very glad that Joe joined Kerkering Barberio. He brings a great deal of tax experience with him that will be advantageous to our clients and staff.” said Rob Lane, Managing Shareholder. 

For more info.

[Best of SRQ]  Celebrating the Best Tacos of 2020

In a saucy competition, SCREAMING GOAT TAQUERIA emerges victorious to reclaim its Platinum Best of SRQ Local status in a landslide, thanks to ever-inventive and always fresh toppings. Local chain POPPO’S TAQUERIA sneaks into Best Of for the first time with Gold, while EL TORO BRAVO delights the masses with friendly owners and family-friendly vibes, scoring Silver. Meanwhile, MI PUEBLO brings the fiesta every year, and nabbed the Bronze tortilla. 

Image: Best of SRQ Local 2019 feature

Read more from the Best of SRQ 2020 Competition HERE

[Re-Openings]  Libby's Neighborhood Brasserie Reopens

Libby's Neighborhood Brasserie in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch are open with extended outdoor patio seating, 25% indoor occupancy, curbside delivery and take out and online ordering. The menu includes some of their favorites and new daily specials created at unbeatable prices. The Daily Blue Plate Specials include: Tuesdays, Joe's Spaghetti and Meatballs; Wednesdays, BBQ Combo; Thursdays, Cauliflower Steak; Fridays, Bird in a Bag; and, Saturdays, Steak and Frites. Hours will be Tuesday to Saturday from 3pm to 9pm. 

Order online.

[Re-Openings]  State Street Eating House to Reopen May 14 with Award-Winning Food, Service and Virtual Hugs

State Street Eating House + Cocktails (www.statestreetsrq.com) announced today that they will be reopening at 5:30 PM on Thursday, May 14 with preventative protocols exceeding CDC recommendations and state mandates. State Street will be offering inside and outside seated dining as well as takeout cuisine and cocktails.

“We so miss our friends and customers, it’s been like being without family for so long,” said State Street founder Chris Voelker. “We are implementing aggressive preventative measures to assure that our treasured friends can enjoy the ‘State Street Experience’ in safety with peace of mind foremost. We have established a new Covid Compliance Manager position, and our staff is training on our new post shelter-at-home protocols to prepare for the 14th.”

State Street will open initially for dinner and takeout at 5:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday May 14th - 16th, and then for dinner Tuesday May 19th – Saturday May 23rd. As of opening on May 14th, a modified menu will be offered and customers may order take out directly through the website - with a 20% discount on take out wine and cocktails.

“We’ve always had the highest standards of cleanliness at State Street, and we are going to exceed the state and CDC mandates to protect our customers. State Street is being thoroughly detailed, cleansed and sanitized, and our new procedures include daily employee temperature checks, masking, cleaning and sanitizing tables, condiments, menus, check presenters and common-touch areas between seatings, and eliminating table presets.”

“Social distancing and quarantine has been tough for everyone. We and our award-winning employees are very excited to see our friends again and look forward to many 6-foot smiles and virtual hugs,” Chris concluded.

State Street Eating House + Cocktails (www.statestreetsrq.com) is the mid-century industrial-chic eating-house founded by Chris and Kirk Voelker, MD. State Street features fresh, innovative and delicious food and cocktails that have earned "Best New Restaurant", "Best Cocktail" and "Best Burger" accolades. State Street is located at 1533 State Street, Sarasota. 

Click for more.

[Re-Openings]  Public Beach Parking Time Limits Lifted, Bayfront Park to Reopen Tomorrow

Social distancing requirements will remain but parking limits will be lifted at Manatee County's public beach parking beginning tomorrow, May 13.

County Commissioners today approved another weekly update on the County's reopening plan by County Administrator Cheri Coryea that calls for enhanced presence along popular beach areas for crowd control from Manatee Sheriff's Office on weekends until July 12. Sheriff's Office reinforcement will also to help the County's municipal partners on with parking, crowds and traffic enforcement. Residents should not park in the right of ways along Bradenton and Coquina Beaches. Some parking areas near the County's utility construction projects along Bradenton Beach will remain closed for safety.

As part of today's action, Commissioners approved extending for seven days the local state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning tomorrow, beaches will be open from sunrise until 10 p.m. and parking at public beaches will no longer be restricted to two hours. The County's popular Bayfront Park inside the City of Anna Maria, will also reopen tomorrow. Greer Island, a popular stop for local boaters near Longboat Key, will remain temporarily closed.

Coryea noted that all of the County's reopening actions align with federal social distancing guidelines and with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's Safe. Smart. Step-By-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery and within an Executive Order which extends Florida's state of emergency by 60 days into July.

"With the state of emergency being extended for 60 days, movie theaters, theme parks, bars, restaurants won’t be open and people still do not have a lot of places to go," Coryea said. "They'll be heading out to the beach, and so we're calling to expand weekend law enforcement presence through July 12."

Today's action came after County Commissioners received an update from Public Safety Director Jake Saur and Administrator Coryea on the state of the coronavirus statistics in Manatee County. Coryea said Manatee County is on a downward trend for the seventh day in a row for positive COVIDー19 cases.

"And for more proof that we're heading in the right direction, (Manatee County) is down to 9.3 percent positive rate which is the seventh day in a row of decline," she said.

Saur and Coryea said the positive trends are the result of a much higher rate of local testing for COVID-19. Manatee County residents have locations to be tested throughout the area any day of the week with or without symptoms or prescriptions. MCR Services offers multiple testing sites. A new regional testing site near the University Town Center Mall is open seven days a week. Department of Health drive-through testing continues at the Bradenton Area Convention Center on days throughout this month.

Most County Government buildings will remain temporarily closed to the public, but one quarter of its workforce will begin returning to the office this week and next as facilities are cleared for people to return.

The County's restaurant concessionaires at Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe and the Coquina Beach Cafe will remain temporarily closed but could reopen next week.

Other popular County amenities, such as libraries and public pools will likely open in June, giving County staff time to complete its reopening plan to maximize health and safety for employees and the public.

"Before reopening many of those other facilities, we will ensure they are set up properly, and that we have the protocols in place to enforce social distancing and avoid crowds," Coryea said. "We have to make sure the message is clear with proper signage on what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. We have to make sure staff is trained. Smaller venues like tennis and skate parks are all being evaluated." 

Click for more info.

[Testing]  DOH Sarasota Adds Additional Community COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing This Friday

DOH Sarasota has added an additional day of by appointment only COVID-19 drive-thru testing at Bethlehem Bible Church located at 1680 18th Street, Sarasota from 8 a.m. to noon Friday, May 15, 2020.

This community based COVID-19 testing is for anyone who is currently experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell) or who works in a health care setting.

This COVID-19 testing event is in cooperation with Bethlehem Bible Church (Rev. Patrick Miller), Suncoast Women of Action (Helen James, president and vice-president Glenda Green), and Trinity Christian Fellowship Center (Rev. Vincent Smith III).

To date, DOH Sarasota has tested more than 1500 community members for COVID-19 during our community-based testing events.

To make an appointment to visit any of DOH Sarasota COVID-19 test sites, please call 941-861-2883, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers will be screened using current CDC testing criteria. Appointments are limited however more testing opportunities may be scheduled in the future.

Additionally, all DOH Sarasota can accommodate walk-ups, and people on bicycles.

South County: Wednesday, May 13, 8 a.m. to noon - Heron Creek Middle School, 6501 W. Price Blvd, North Port

Mid-County: Thursday, May 14, 8 a.m. to Noon - Laurel Civic Association, 509 Collins Road, Laurel

North County: Friday, May 15, 8 a.m. to noon - Bethlehem Bible Church located at 1680 18th Street, Sarasota

All patients must have an appointment to be tested, please call (941) 861-2883 to be evaluated and scheduled for an appointment. 

[Brain Health Initiative]  Your Mother Was Right: Fish Helps You Think-Across the Lifespan

Nutrition is a core protective factor to promoting brain health and fighting brain illness. Throughout our BRAIN HEALTH BOOST! series, the Brain Health Initiative provides information to support your nutritional health-boosting your mood, thinking, immunity, energy level, sleep, stress resilience and overall physical health. Nutrition makes a difference.

The Brain Health Initiative and researchers from around the world have been studying and taking action on a variety of different lifestyle factors to protect your brain health and optimize your daily performance across the lifespan. Further, the scientists and clinicians investigate factors that reduce your risk of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia as well as other brain illness.

In fact, researchers have been trying to determine the key parts of diet for years. The old news about nutrition and brain health is that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial. As we have shared in previous BOOSTS, numerous studies show a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish, and whole grains improves cognitive performance. That is all still important, but no study has been able to determine the critical components of the Mediterranean diet that makes it so good for your brain — until now.

The National Institutes of Health evaluated the lifestyles of over 7,750 participants and followed them for five to 10 years. Participants filled out questionnaires to determine their eating habits, and participated by phone in cognitive tests of memory, language, and attention. The data was used to determine the dietary factors most important in lowering your risk of cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.

The new news is your mother was right: fish is good for you. Fish was the single most important dietary factor in lowering the risk of cognitive impairment. Vegetables were second best, and all other foods showed smaller, insignificant effects. Moreover, of all the foods evaluated, only fish was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Eating fish lowered the risk of both cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.

Andrew E. Budson, MD, Chief of Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System and lecturer in neurology at Harvard Medical School, says the take away from this study is to reduce your risk of cognitive impairment and decline, eat a Mediterranean-style diet including fish several times per week. 

Click for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guide to eating seafood.

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SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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