18 September 2006
Extreme Diet Nixes Alzheimer's
by Kate Melville
Scheduled for publication in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers extends and strengthens the hypothesis that dietary regimens involving caloric restriction might halt, or even reverse, Alzheimer's disease. The researchers, working with Squirrel Monkeys, speculate that restricting caloric intake may prevent Alzheimer's by triggering activity in the brain associated with longevity.
The monkeys in the study were put on either a calorie restrictive or normal diet for their entire lifespan until they died of natural causes. Upon examining animals from both groups, the researchers found that those on a 30 percent calorie restriction had reduced Alzheimer's type amyloid neuropathology in the temporal cortex relative to the normally fed monkeys. Interestingly, the decreased Alzheimer's pathology correlated with increased longevity of related protein SIRT1, located in the same brain region that influences a variety of functions including aging related diseases.
The researchers behind the study are bullish about future prospects for treating humans with Alzheimer's. "CR [caloric restriction] may exert beneficial effects on delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease - amyloid brain neuropathology in humans, similar to that observed in squirrel monkey and rodent models of Alzheimer's disease," said Mount Sinai researcher Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti. "The findings offer a glimmer of hope that there may someday be a way to prevent and stop this devastating disease in its tracks."
Source: Mount Sinai School of Medicine