COMMENTARY

Food for Thought: Reducing Alzheimer Risk

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD

Disclosures

July 16, 2012

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Hello. I'm Dr. Sandra Fryhofer. Welcome to Medicine Matters. The topic: diet and Alzheimer disease. Here's why it matters. Every 68 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. Nearly 5.5 million Americans already have it.

When it comes to prevention, what you eat may matter. A new study published online in the May 2 edition of Neurology suggests that food choices, including eating more fish and nuts, may help reduce the odds.[1]

Why these foods? The possible advantages come from the high omega-3 fatty acid content in fish and nuts. This study from the National Institute of Aging looked at more than 1200 dementia-free patients over age 65. Researchers evaluated dietary intake, looking specifically at 10 nutrients. Only omega-3 fatty acid intake seemed to make a difference.

Amyloid plaques and tangles are found in the brains of patients who have Alzheimer's. Foods high in omega-3s are linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, which may mean lower levels in the brain. The next step is to find out definitively if lower beta-amyloid blood levels do, indeed, translate into lower beta-amyloid levels in the brain and spinal fluid.

For Medicine Matters, I'm Dr. Sandra Fryhofer.

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