MONDAY JULY 28, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- New tools based
on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be enlisted to diagnose Alzheimer's
disease in its early stages so that doctors can treat patients earlier to slow
the progression of the disease.
Research represented Sunday at the International Conference
on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago showed that conventional, clinical-strength
MRI could result in images of brain plaques like those found in Alzheimer's
Methods being used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease are
largely cognitive and behavioral tests and imaging scans like MRI and pet scans
may be helpful, but a definitive diagnosis of the disease can only be made
after a patient dies.
With new techniques, doctors may see amyloid plaques in the
brain of a living patient using MRI. And this would improve diagnosis of
Alzheimer's in its early stages.
Alzheimer’s disease, an incurable aging-related disease, is
estimated to affect about 5.2 million Americans. The number is expected to rise
to 16 million by 2050.
One study by John Ronald and colleagues at Roberts Research
Institute and the University of Western Ontario showed MRI scanners customized
for micro-imaging were able to identify brain plaques in animals, visualizing
amyloid plaques with a conventional MRI.
Reported at the conference were also studies of MRI in other
Christos Davatzikos, a professor in Penn's department of
radiology and others from the University of Pennsylvania and the National
Institute on Aging used a new computer technique to analyze MRI scans from
normal elderly and adults with their cognition mildly impaired.
Another study by Robyn Honea at the University of Kansas
Medical Center showed MRI brain imaging may show a connection between cardiorespiratory
fitness and Alzheimer's related change in one of the first brain regions
affected by the disease.
The study found
more physically fit people had less brain atrophy.
The following are some studies reported at foodconsumer.org
regarding diet/lifestyle and Alzheimer’s disease.
Green tea may fight Alzheimer's
An antioxidant found in green tea known as epigallocatechin
appears to help prevent
the development of amyloid fibrils, which are associated with Alzheimer's and
Parkinson's disease, according to a new German study in the May 30, 2008 online
edition of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.
The study led by Erich Wanker, from the Max Delbrueck Center
for Molecular Medicine in Berlin and colleagues showed "the polyphenol
(-)-epigallocatechin gallate efficiently inhibits the fibrillogenesis of both
alpha-synuclein and amyloid-beta by directly binding to the natively unfolded
polypeptides and preventing their conversion into toxic, on-pathway aggregation
EGCG could be used to eliminate the toxic misfolded proteins
in cells and prevent the formation of amyloid plaque if patients are
But it is unknown whether the
treatment could reverse the existing plaques.
An early study published in the April 7, 2008 issue of Brain
Research showed "Green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) reduces
beta-amyloid mediated cognitive impairment and modulates tau pathology in
Alzheimer transgenic mice."
Previous studies by other researchers suggest EGCG may be
used to prevent certain cancers and metabolic syndrome in addition to a range
of other health benefits.
Curry prevents Alzheimer's disease
The chemical known as Bisdemethoxycurcumin in curry, which
is made of Turmeric root, may help fight Alzheimer's disease,according to a
study conducted by the David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles and the
Human BioMolecular Research Institute in San Diego and published July 16, 2007
in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers found Bisdemethoxycurcumin boosted immune cells
called macrophages to clear amyloid beta, a protein found in the brain plagues
observational studies have found people who use curry often such as Indians
have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Overweight, obesity may cause Alzheimer's disease
Overweight or obese people may have a greater likelihood of
developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared with those who have a normal body
weight, according to a study appearing in the Dec. 2005 issue of the Journal of
In the new study, researchers at the Farber Institute for
Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and Edith Cowan
University in Joondalup, Western Australia found that being extremely
overweight or obese can be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's
In the study, which involved 18 extremely obese (but
otherwise healthy people), researchers measured body mass index (BMI) and
beta-amyloid blood levels. They found a "statistically significant
correlation" between BMI and beta-amyloid.
The finding suggests that maintaining a normal body weight
may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. However, it has not been proven that
losing body weight can lower the beta-amyloid level or the risk of the disease.
Previous studies have demonstrated being overweight or obese
is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
Calorie restriction may prevent Alzheimer's
Calorie restriction boost longevity and may help prevent
aging-related Alzheimer's disease by triggering activity in the brain
associated with longevity, according to a study, which appears in the July 2006
issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine showed calorie
restriction based on low carbohydrate food can reduce beta-amyloid peptides in
the brain of the lab mice. Conversely, a high caloric intake based on saturated
fat was found to increase levels of the peptides that are linked with
Grape seed extract may help prevent Alzheimer's
SUNDAY June 29, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A study conducted
by Wang J and colleagues from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York
suggests that taking grape seed extract supplements may help prevent or even
treat Alzheimer's disease.
The study published on June 18 in the Journal of
Neuroscience showed that grape see polyphenolic extract significantly inhibits
amyloid beta-protein aggregation into high molecular weight oligomers in vitro.
The study also showed that when orally administered to lab
mice, the extract dramatically attenuates cognitive deterioration commonly
experienced by Alzheimer's patients.
Extracellular accumulation of soluble high-molecular-weight
oligomers has been proposed to be responsible for Alzheimer's dementia and
memory deficits in mice with a disorder similar to human Alzheimer’s disease.
Red wine compound reduces Alzheimer's disease-causing
Resveratrol, which is found in red grapes and red wine, may
help fight Alzheimer's disease, and possibly other amyloid-related diseases,
according to a study published in the Nov. 11, 2005 issue of the Journal of
For the study, Philippe Marambaud and his colleagues at the
Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory
Disorders in Manhasset, New York, administered resveratrol to cells which
produce human amyloid-beta, and monitored amyloid-beta levels inside and
outside the cells to assess the effectiveness of resveratrol on amyloid-beta
peptides. They found that the treated cells had significantly lower amounts of
amyloid-bata than the untreated cells.
Other researchers, in past studies have suggested that
resveratrol may act as an antioxidant to help rid free radicals provoked by
amyloid-beta peptides in the brain, in order to help Alzheimer's patients. Free
radicals generated from fatty acids are believed to cause Alzheimer's.
Mediterranean diet lowers Alzheimer's risk in American
A study published in the April, 2006 issue of Annals of
Neurology found Americans who ate a Mediterranean diet--lots of fruits,
vegetables, legumes, cereals, some fish and alcohol, and little dairy and
meat--had a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease as they aged.
Nikolaos Scarmeas of Columbia University Medical Center
followed 2,258 non-demented people in New York City who had no dementia when
entering the study. The subjects were examined every 18 months during a period
of 4 years.
Compared with those in the group that adhered to a
Mediterranean diet the least, subjects in the middle tertile had a 15 to 21
percent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, and those in the highest tertile had
a 39 to 40 percent lower risk, the researchers found.
The association remained significant even after considering
potential confounders such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, caloric
intake, BMI, smoking and comorbid conditions.
High Blood Sugar Level Increases Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
People with high blood sugar levels may be at an increased
risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, researchers report. Alzheimer's disease
is linked with type 2 diabetes, but researchers say the link may develop much
before patients are identified as diabetic.
The condition with high blood sugar levels that is not yet
in the established diabetes range is called pre-diabetes. Researchers from
Stockholm's Karolinska Institute said that people with higher than normal blood
sugar levels could be at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease
at a later stage.
The researchers presented the findings of their nine-year
study on the opening day of the 10th International Conference on Alzheimer's
Disease and Related Disorders in Madrid in 2006.
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