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Skinny chili peppers and green onions on a checkered cloth napkin.
Figure 5.1 Nutrients from foods such as chili peppers impact brain function. (credit: modification of work “Chilli Pepper And Onion Mix” by Marco Verch/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The neurologic system coordinates and manages nearly all activities of the human body in response to internal and environmental influences by regulating specific cellular and tissue functions. Because of the unique structure and functions within the brain, consideration of the specific nutrients that dramatically impact normal operations is an important part of the nursing assessment.

Consider this case: Jamal Powell is a 68-year-old client being seen at the neurology care clinic. The client was brought in by their spouse for evaluation of recent cognitive status changes. Jamal is concerned and fearful about these cognitive changes because of the close family history of developing dementia in the middle to late 60s. The client states that they smoked cigarettes for 3 years in their early 20s but quit and have not resumed smoking. There is no history of toxic chemicals or other exposures and no history of head trauma, seizures, or stroke.

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