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Diet & Health : General Health Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Eating too much soy may cause memory loss
By Ben Wasserman
Jul 11, 2008 - 7:58:28 AM

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FRIDAY JULY 11, 2008 ( -- A new study says that eating too much of some soy products including tofu may raise risk of memory loss, a typical symptom of dementia.

The study of 719 elderly Indonesians living in urban and rural areas of Java showed that high tofu consumption --at least once a day - was linked with worse memory, particularly significantly in those aged over 68.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Loughborough University and results were published in the journal Dementias and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.

The researchers suspected that phytoestrogen may play a role in the worsening of memory.   Early studies showed that estrogen therapy doubled risk of dementia in those over-65s.

However, other factors can't be excluded.   In Indonesia, formaldehyde, a highly reactive cancer-causing agent that is sometimes used to preserve foods like tofu, may be partially responsible for the increased risk of memory loss.

The study also found somehow fermented tofu was linked to improved memory.

Tofu is a popular food used as a major protein source in Asian countries and regarded as a healthy food.   Low prevalence of breast cancer in Asia may be attributed to soy products.


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