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nightsurfer on 2009-12-09Tofu and cognitive function: food for thought.
Grodstein F, Mayeux R, Stampfer MJ.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Apr;19(2):207-9. Review.
In addition, a plausible biologic hypothesis is generally an important part of judging epidemiologic relations. While high tofu intake may lead to lower plasma estrogen levels , we do not know how tofu influences estrogen levels in the brain; we also know very little about estrogen effects in men. Furthermore, data have not even consistently indicated that low endogenous estrogen levels are directly related to cognitive function in non-demented subjects . The authors also posit a non-estrogen mediated hypothesis for the effects of tofu, namely that soy inhibits hippocampal tyrosine kinase and may block long-term potentiation (the likely mechanism by which humans learn and remember). Still, considerably more work must be done to substantiate this hypothesis.
Finally, the single measures of outcome used in this study may have limited value, as cognitive function and brain structure change over time. Factors which predict these measures at one point may or may not be the same as those which predict decline over time; fundamentally, the public health interest is in preventing cognitive decline, as the steepness of the decline trajectory likely provides an early marker for risk of the more clinically relevant result—dementia.