If you have occasional 'senior moments' when you can't quite think of the right word, there's a diet that can improve thinking and memory, scientists have found. People who suffer from memory loss or who can't think clearly often have small areas of dead tissue in a specific area of the brain - and these brain infarcts, as they're called, can be prevented by eating the Mediterranean diet. The diet, which is rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil, has a protective effect, and keeps the brain functioning properly. Scientists from Columbia University Medical Center in New York made the discovery when they tested the diet on 712 people living in the city, 238 of whom had at least one area of brain damage. Those who closely followed the diet for six years were 36 per cent less likely to have brain damage than those who barely stuck to the diet at all. In an earlier study, researchers found that the diet also protects against Alzheimer's disease. (Source: paper to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 62nd annual meeting on April 10, 2010).