Science Fact of the Day #1: Creatine Improves Brain Function

Something I try to do as a teacher is introduce students to new information from various fields of study in order to try to spark an interest in them that could propell them into a career in the future. So I find myself reading a lot of science articles about all sorts of random things. Many of them I do not share with the students but I think I’ll start sharing them here to practice.

Here are important reminders about science facts of the day:

  1. Studies can be wrong for several reasons:
    1. Bias
    2. The math was done incorrectly (Biologists are notoriously innumerate)
    3. The data could be correct but the interpretive framework was wrong
    4. Poor definitions are used
    5. The gold standard for hypothesis testing (the p-value) is stupid.
    6. And on and on and on
  2. I don’t necessarily endorse what I’m posting.
  3. I’m not, unless I say so, making recommendations.

Anyway, science fact of the day: creatine supplmentation improves memory in human subjects.

720px-Creatine_biosynthesis.svg

In a study published in 2003 it was discovered that compared to a control group that was given a placebo over a 6-week period, the group that took creatine-monohydrate improved performance on memory and intelligence tests.

One aspect that I was curious about when I read the abstract was that the subjects were all vegetarians. I have wondered if that would affect the study, but they mentioned that plasma levels of creatine are lower in vegetarians. And then it hit me, you’d pick vegetarians because they won’t be eating foods that increase their creatine plasma levels. And if there was a measurable effect on processing speed, then there would be better evidence that the effect was due to creatine.

Anyway, it’s an interesting study. It may explain why people feel more intense and focused in their workouts when they have creatine.

 

References

Rae, Caroline, Alison L. Digney, Sally R. McEwan, and Timothy C. Bates. “Oral Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation Improves Brain Performance: A Double–blind, Placebo–controlled, Cross–over Trial.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 270, no. 1529 (October 22, 2003): 2147–2150.
Image: By Shakiestone – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16925271
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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Science Fact of the Day: Good Charlotte was on to something | Geoff's Miscellany

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