Alzheimers Treatment to Prevent Cerebral Atrophy

By M. CHRIS WOLF, PH.D.

Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care

A new study having implications for Alzheimers treatment appears in the June issue of the Archives of Neurology. There is mounting evidence that diet matters to the brain.

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Evidence is starting to accrue in research literature examining what patterns of diet seem to both be protective or place someone at greater risk for dementia and Alzheimers treatment.

Suzanne Craft, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington worked on research published in the Archives of Neurology.

According to the research by Dr. Craft, a healthy diet that contains a lot of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats is important for people who need Alzheimers treatment.

The research also suggests that this type of diet can be critical to preventing the development Alzheimer's disease.

In the study, people were placed on a very specific diet and provided every piece of food that they ate for an entire month.

The subjects in the study included 20 healthy adults with a mean age of 69.3 years. There were 29 adults with amnestic (memory loss) mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and a mean age of 67.6 years.

These participants for 4 weeks followed the high-fat diet (9 healthy adults and 15 with aMCI. The other 25 followed the low-fat diet (11 healthy adults and 14 with aMCI).

In both study groups, the high-fat diet made unhealthy changes in cholesterol and insulin levels, while the low-fat diet produced healthy changes in the same levels.

Why is this important? Simply put, β-amyloid 42 concentrations in the cerebral spinal fluid (the stuff the causes Alzheimer’s and memory loss) differed by the diet.

NOTE: CSF β-amyloid 42 levels are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

In the healthy adults, the high-fat diet increased the β-amyloid 42 levels making them more likely to move in the direction of Alzheimer’s disease.

Also important was that the low-fat diet had positive effects in both the healthy participants and the participants with the memory loss type mild cognitive impairment.

IMPORTANT: The healthy diet decreased CSF β-amyloid 42 levels. This may help move people away from the "tipping point" that could start the β-amyloid brain deposits and eventually to memory loss.

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For more information on vitamins and supplements that may also be protective, please visit our page on:

Alzheimer's Disease Research

Important: Exercise for Seniors

Memory Vitamins and Supplements

Ways to Improve Your Memory

The study by Dr. Craft was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging and is published in Archives of Neurology, 2011;68:743-752.


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