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Posts tagged ‘Alzheimer’s disease’

Alzheimer’s: Dietary Patterns May Keep Brain from Shrinking

omega 3 fish oil
People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in the December 28, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Those with diets high in omega 3 fatty acids and in vitamins C, D, E and the B complex vitamins also had higher scores on mental thinking tests than people with diets low in those nutrients. The omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D are primarily found in fish. The B vitamins and antioxidants C and E are primarily found in fruits and vegetables.
In another finding, the study showed that people with diets high in trans fats were more likely to have brain shrinkage and lower scores on the thinking and memory tests than people with diets low in trans fats. Trans fats are primarily found in packaged, fast, fried and frozen food, baked goods and margarine spreads.

The study involved 104 people with an average age of 87 and very few risk factors for memory and thinking problems. Blood tests were used to determine the levels of various nutrients present in the blood of each participant. All of the participants also took tests of their memory and thinking skills. A total of 42 of the participants had MRI scans to measure their brain volume.

Overall, the participants had good nutritional status, but seven percent were deficient in vitamin B12 and 25 percent were deficient in vitamin D.
Study author Gene Bowman, ND, MPH, of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said that the nutrient biomarkers in the blood accounted for a significant amount of the variation in both brain volume and thinking and memory scores. For the thinking and memory scores, the nutrient biomarkers accounted for 17 percent of the variation in the scores. Other factors such as age, number of years of education and high blood pressure accounted for 46 percent of the variation. For brain volume, the nutrient biomarkers accounted for 37 percent of the variation.
“These results need to be confirmed, but obviously it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet,” Bowman said.
The study was the first to use nutrient bio-markers in the blood to analyze the effect of diet on memory and thinking skills and brain volume. Previous studies have looked at only one or a few nutrients at a time or have used questionnaires to assess people’s diet. But questionnaires rely on people’s memory of their diet, and they also do not account for how much of the nutrients are absorbed by the body, which can be an issue in the elderly.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Portland VA Medical Center.
Story Source:
American Academy of Neurology (2011, December 29). Alzheimer’s: Diet patterns may keep brain from shrinking.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice,diagnosis or treatment. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.

High Blood Levels of Vitamin E Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease,

High levels of several vitamin E components in the blood are associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in advanced age, suggesting that vitamin E may help prevent cognitive deterioration in elderly people. This is the conclusion reached in a Swedish study published in the July 2010 issue of the “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease”.

“Vitamin E is a family of eight natural components, but most studies related to Alzheimer’s disease investigate only one of these components, tocopherol,” explained the research team. “We hypothesized that all the vitamin E family members could be important in protecting against Alzheimer’s Disease. If confirmed, this result has implications for both individuals and society, as 70 percent of all dementia cases in the general population occur in people over 75 years of age, and the study suggests a protective effect of vitamin E against Alzheimer’s Disease in individuals aged 80 and over.”

The study was conducted at the Aging Research Center (ARC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, in collaboration with the Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Perugia, Italy. The study included a sample of 232 participants from the Kungsholmen Project, a population-based longitudinal study on aging and dementia in Stockholm (Kungsholmen parish). All participants were aged 80+ years and were dementia-free at the beginning of the study (baseline). After 6-years of follow-up, 57 Alzheimer’s Disease cases were identified.

The blood levels of all eight natural vitamin E components were measured at the beginning of the study. Subjects with higher blood levels (highest tertile) were compared with subjects who had lower blood levels (lowest tertile) to verify whether these two groups developed dementia at different rates. The study found that subjects with higher blood levels of all the vitamin E complex forms had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, compared to subjects with lower levels. After adjusting for various confounders, the risk was reduced by 45- 54%, depending on the vitamin E component.

The researchers note that the protective effect of vitamin E seems to be related to the combination of the different forms. Another recent study indicated that supplements containing high doses of the E vitamin form �- tocopherol may increase mortality, emphasizing that such dietary supplements, if not used in a balanced way, may be more harmful than previously thought.

“Elderly people as a group are large consumers of vitamin E supplements, which usually contain only �- tocopherol, and this often at high doses,” said the researchers. “Our findings need to be confirmed by other studies, but they open up for the possibility that the balanced presence of different vitamin E forms can have an important neuroprotective effect.”

Story Source: Karolinska Institutet. Journal Reference: High plasma levels of vitamin E forms and reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk in advanced age. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2010;

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Beta-Carot​ene Supplement​s Benefit The Aging Brain

Regular Beta-Carotene Intake Beta Carotene herbal product
Throughout Middle Age May Benefit The Aging Brain

A recent study of people taking beta-carotene supplements analyzing the key potential benefits against cognitive decline demonstrates there are ways, through basic “health-minded” lifestyle modifications, that proper nutritional intake can help memory as people get older.

Most importantly, the findings also suggest beta-carotene may help keep the brain sharp if taken regularly as a supplement for many years.

Results of the placebo-controlled study of 5,956 men were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reported that men who took betacarotene supplements every other day for an average 18 years scored much better in cognitive testing than those taking a placebo.

They scored especially well on verbal memory. However, those in a shorter-term test who averaged only one year of supplementation, did not demonstrate a similar benefit.

“Men who took beta-carotene for a mean of 18 years had about the same degree of cognitive function as men one year younger,” the researchers explained. “In other words, if you take beta-carotene for 18 years, you delay cognitive aging for about one year.”

They also said that women would likely see a similar long-term benefit. The researchers suggested that beta carotene might help delay the effects of aging on cognitive abilities by counter-acting oxidative damage in the brain.

“In this generally healthy population, the extent of protection conferred by long-term treatment appeared modest,” they noted. “Nonetheless, studies have established that very modest differences in cognition (especially verbal memory) predict substantial differences in eventual risk of dementia.”

The long-term group in the study included 4,052 participants in the Physicians Health Study who began taking supplements or placebo in 1982. Between 1998 and 2001, an additional 1,904 men were randomly assigned to one of the two groups.

Both groups were followed through 2003, completing yearly questionnaires about their health and their compliance with taking the supplement. The men were assessed  for cognitive function at least once between 1998 and 2002, then evaluated at the study’s conclusion using a set of five cognitive tests.

Beta-carotene’s benefits against the ravages of cognitive decline surpassed those of other medications tested in healthy older people, making it worthy of continued study.

Story Source:

Archives of Internal Medicine

 

Journal Reference:
Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA
This article is for informational and educational

purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

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