Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alzheimer's Researchers Find High Protein Diet Shrinks Brain

Date:
October 21, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
One of the many reasons to pick a low-calorie and low-fat diet is that host of epidemiological studies have suggested that such a diet may delay the onset or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Now a study tests the effects of several diets for their effects on Alzheimer's disease pathology. Unexpectedly, the researchers found that a high protein diet apparently led to a smaller brain.

Researchers studying Alzheimer's disease found that, unexpectedly, a high protein diet apparently led to a smaller brain.
Credit: iStockphoto/Kelly Cline

One of the many reasons to pick a low-calorie, low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fish is that a host of epidemiological studies have suggested that such a diet may delay the onset or slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Now a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Neurodegeneration tests the effects of several diets, head-to-head, for their effects on AD pathology in a mouse model of the disease. Although the researchers were focused on triggers for brain plaque formation, they also found that, unexpectedly, a high protein diet apparently led to a smaller brain.

A research team from the US, Canada, and the UK tested four differing menus on transgenic mouse model of AD, which express a mutant form of the human amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP's role in the brain is not fully understood; however it is of great interest to AD researchers because the body uses it to generate the amyloid plaques typical of Alzheimer's. These mice were fed either

  1. a regular diet,
  2. a high fat/low carbohydrate custom diet,
  3. a high protein/low carb version or
  4. a high carbohydrate/low fat option.

The researchers then looked at the brain and body weight of the mice, as well as plaque build up and differences in the structure of several brain regions that are involved in the memory defect underlying AD.

Unexpectedly, mice fed a high protein/low carbohydrate diet had brains five percent lighter that all the others, and regions of their hippocampus were less developed. This result was a surprise, and, until researchers test this effect on non-transgenic mice, it is unclear whether the loss of brain mass is associated with AD-type plaque. But some studies in the published literature led the authors to put forward a tentative theory that a high protein diet may leave neurones more vulnerable to AD plaque. Mice on a high fat diet had raised levels of plaque proteins, but this had no effect on plaque burden.

Aside from transgenic mice, the pressing question is whether these data have implications for the human brain. "Given the previously reported association of high protein diet with aging-related neurotoxicity, one wonders whether particular diets, if ingested at particular ages, might increase susceptibility to incidence or progression of AD," says lead author, Sam Gandy, a professor at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a neurologist at the James J Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the Bronx NY. The only way to know for sure would require prospective randomised double blind clinical diet trials. According to Gandy, "This would be a challenging undertaking but potentially worthwhile. If there is a real chance that the ravages of AD might be slowed or avoided through healthy eating. Such trials will be required if scientists are ever to make specific recommendations about dietary risks for AD."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Steve Pedrini, Carlos Thomas, Hannah Brautigam, James Schmeidler, Lap Ho, Paul Fraser, David Westaway, Peter Hyslop, Ralph Martins, Joseph Buxbaum, Giulio Pasinetti, Dara Dickstein, Patrick Hof, Michelle Ehrlich and Sam Gandy. Dietary composition modulates brain mass and amyloid beta levels in a mouse model of aggressive Alzheimer's amyloid pathology. Molecular Neurodegeneration, (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Alzheimer's Researchers Find High Protein Diet Shrinks Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020192206.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, October 21). Alzheimer's Researchers Find High Protein Diet Shrinks Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020192206.htm
BioMed Central. "Alzheimer's Researchers Find High Protein Diet Shrinks Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020192206.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins