Thursday, September 02, 2004

Healthy stuff

Eat This. It May Stop Alzheimer's Cold A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is found in abundance in soy, salmon, halibut, and other cold-water fish, appears to offer significant protection against Alzheimer's disease, Reuters reports of new research from the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine. The ingredient that seems to protect the brain against memory loss and cell damage caused by Alzheimer's is one particular omega-3 fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid. Lead study author Greg Cole said DHA "dramatically reduces the impact of an Alzheimer's gene."
As so often happens in science, this finding was accidental. The researchers, who were studying Alzheimer's in mice, were looking for something else but noticed that the mice whose diet was rich in soy and rich did not have the expected memory loss or brain damage. Reuters reports that notably, the synapses, the connections between brain cells, were not as damaged as would be expected. "Because earlier studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may prevent Alzheimer's disease, we realized that the mice's diet could be countering the very thing we were trying to accomplish--showing the progression of the Alzheimer's-related brain damage," said researcher Sally Frautschy in a prepared statement.
The researchers tested the DHA theory by removing fish and soy from the mouse diet. Instead, they fed them safflower oil, which is low in omega-3 and rich in another fatty acid called omega-6, which does not include DHA, reports Reuters. "We found high amounts of synaptic damage in the brains of the Alzheimer's-diseased mice that ate the DHA-depleted diet," Frautschy explained. "These changes closely resembled those we see in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease." Cole said that after adjusting for all possible variables, DHA was the only factor that protected the mice from synaptic damage and memory loss that should have occurred from their Alzheimer's genes. "We concluded that the DHA-enriched diet was holding their genetic disease at bay," said Cole. The study findings were published in the journal Neuron.

From wmconnect news

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