Rising obesity - 'dementia time bomb'
Ever-growing waistlines could result in a big increase in the number of people who develop dementia in the future, researchers have warned. Previous studies have shown that being overweight in middle age increases the odds of developing the mental disorder. Data presented at the European Congress on Obesity suggests stemming the rise in obesity will cut dementia.
Piling on too many pounds is known to be bad for the body, but there is growing evidence that it is also bad for the mind. Diabetes is strongly linked to increasing Alzheimer’s risk. The connection between weight gain and diabetes is insulin. In both cases people become increasingly ‘insulin resistant’, which means their body makes more insulin, and higher insulin levels has consistently be linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
One study of 8,500 Swedish twins showed that those with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, who are classified as obese, were almost four times as likely to develop dementia as those with a normal BMI.
Even those who were clinically overweight, a BMI between 25 and 30, were 71% more likely to develop dementia. In England 24% of men and 26% of women are obese. Researchers from the UK Health Forum used computer models to compare what would happen if obesity rates stayed the same or increased to 46% of men and 31% of women by 2050, which has been predicted by some groups.
They said rates of dementia would go from 4,894 cases in every 100,000 people over 65 to 6,662 cases in every 100,000 people over 65. Keeping obesity levels constant would save around £940m in dementia care, the study predicted.
For more details see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22479049
30 May 2013
B vitamin supplements stop Alzheimer's brain shrinkage
New ground-breaking research from Oxford University shows that B vitamins stopped shrinkage in the area of the brain that defines Alzheimer's disease, called the medial temporal lobe. The discovery that the medial temporal lobe virtually stops shrinking in some people with high dose B vitamins is a highly important and convincing breakthrough in understanding what causes, and can prevent Alzheimer's.
The study led by Professor David Smith from the University of Oxford, gave a combination of vitamin B6 (20mg), B12 (500mcg) and folic acid (800mcg) or placebo pills to people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the stage before a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's. "In those with high homocysteine levels, the specific areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease shrank 8 times more slowly in those taking B vitamins than in those on the placebo. This is strongly indicative that the B vitamins may be substantially slowing down, or even potentially arresting, the disease process in those with early stage cognitive decline. This is the first treatment that has been shown to do this." said Professor David Smith.
To find out more about how to prevent Alzheimer's, take a look at our Alzheimer's prevention information here.
Douaud, G., et al. (2013) Preventing Alzheimer's disease-related gray matter atrophy by B vitamin treatment. Proceedings National Academy Sciences, USA in press.
21 May 2013
Feeding the autistic brain: Multi-nutrients reduce symptoms and improve biological function
Multi-nutrients reduce symptoms and improve biological function Dietary studies for autism are also few and far between for the same reasons as outlined above in relation to ADHD.
The next best thing is a study involving supplementation – it’s not quite representative of real dietary changes as a change in food would be of course, but at least it can be carried out in a double-blind randomised controlled fashion which eliminates any bias and carries much more weight within the scientific community. The following is just such a study. It involved giving 141 children and adults with autism, a multi-nutrient formula containing a broad range of vitamins and minerals or a placebo. Their symptoms were assessed before and after the study which ran for three months. Fifty-three of the children in the study also had blood measures taken of nutritional and metabolic status(biomarkers) before and after. In terms of symptoms, the supplemented group had significantly greater improvements than the placebo group on the following scores: Parental Global Impressions (PGI-R), Hyperactivity, Tantrumming, Overall and Receptive Language. The change in the PGI-R was strongly associated with a number of the biomarkers suggesting that there is a relationship between changes in biomarkers and changes in symptoms. Levels of many vitamins, minerals, and biomarkers improved including markers of oxidative stress thought to be elevated in autism, as well as markers of key biological processes such as methylation and sulphation. Our comment: Many children on the autistic spectrum who are brought to the Brain Bio Centre eat very restricted diets – this is often a feature of autism. While we work with parents to make gradual changes to broaden their diet to include more food sources of essential nutrients, we also use supplementation to provide these nutrients in the meantime. Anecdotal experience and this study illustrates that this approach may improve both symptoms and biological function. Early improvements can also ease the process of broadening the child’s diet making it a virtuous cycle of improvement. Adams JB, Audhya T, McDonough-Means S, Rubin RA, Quig D, Geis E, Gehn E, Loresto M, Mitchell J, Atwood S, Barnhouse S, Lee W. (2011) Effect of a vitamin/mineral supplement on children and adults with autism. BMC Pediatr. 11:111.
30 November 2012
Omega-3 fish oil boosts mood in depressed elderly
Depression is a common problem in the elderly. In this study, 46 older women with depression (aged 66-95 years) were given either a fish oil supplement (2.5g of omega-3) or a placebo.
After the 2 month study period the women on the supplement had a significantly improved mood compared with those the placebo when assessed using the Geriatric Depression Scale. The researchers were also interested in whether blood levels of essential fatty acids changed as a result of supplementation. They found an improved (lowered) ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in both the whole blood and red blood cell membranes, reflecting the increased intake of omega-3. Immunological parameters (various immune system messengers) were also measured, however there were no significant differences in these. Our comment: This paper adds to the body of evidence supporting the consumption of oily fish and fish oil to support mood in the elderly. Rizzo AM et al, (2012) Comparison between the AA/EPA ratio in depressed and non depressed elderly females: omega-3 fatty acid supplementation correlates with improved symptoms but does not change immunological parameters. Nutr J. Oct 10;11(1):82. [Epub ahead of print]
30 November 2012
For more news click here