Tag Archives: Neurological Disorders

DDT and Alzheimer’s disease

3 Feb

An interesting post at Neuroscientifically Challenged looks at a possible relationship between DDT exposure and Alzheimer’s disease.

In retrospect eating DDT might not have been such a good idea:

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Magnesium reverses cognitive deficits in mice

26 Jan

Yesterday, I blogged about the possible cognitive benefits of magnesium. Here is another example of this type of work. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found looked at a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease and found that a particular form of magnesium, magnesium-L-threonate, improved memory and reduced synaptic loss in these mice:

“Our results suggest that elevation of brain magnesium exerts substantial synaptoprotective effects in a mouse model of AD and may have therapeutic potential for treating AD in humans.”

A note of caution, one of the authors of the paper, Guosong Liu, reports a financial stake in the outcome of the experiment:

“G.L. is a cofounder of Magceutics, a company that develops drugs to treat age-dependent memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease, and has a U.S. patent application on “MgT. ” The remaining authors declare no competing financial interests.”

The Magceutics company sells bottles of 60 magnesium-L-threonate capsules for $34.99 each. I was bothered by this item on the FAQ page:

“Q: Are there human clinical trials underway?
A: Yes. Magceutics is conducting human trials to confirm the nutritional benefits of Magtein for brain health. In addition, many existing Magtein customers have provided testimonials regarding the benefits of Magtein for them.”

Customer testimonials are worthless as scientific evidence, and one should be of suspicious of companies that use such evidence in support of a dietary supplement.  I certainly cannot dismiss the claims that magnesium may have cognitive benefits, but I would like to evidence independent of a researcher with a stake in the outcome.

 

 

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Popcorn does not causes Alzheimer’s disease: But diacetyl might

10 Oct

It is a headline that some news sources found irresistible: “Popcorn Causes Alzheimer Disease.”

However, when you read these stories you discover that popcorn is innocent. Some researchers have raised an alarm about a chemical, diacetyl, used in the butter flavor often added to microwave popcorn, as a possible neurotoxin. This was in vitro research on a laboratory cell culture. According to their paper:

“Diacetyl (DA), an ubiquitous butter-flavoring agent, was found to influence several aspects of amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregation—one of the two primary pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

In other words, in the laboratory, introducing diacetyl to neurons promotes the formation of amyloid-β , a component of the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. This study did not directly demonstrate that consumption of diacetyl causes Alzheimer’s disease. As the authors note:

 “Due caution must, however, be exercised while extrapolating the results of this study to phenomenon in the intact animal.”

While these results are not definitive, there is mounting evidence that diacetyl is dangerous. It seems prudent to avoid foods that contain it. Here is Dr. Greger on the subject:

 

Preventing Parkinson’s Disease

7 Aug

Parkinson’s disease is described as a subcortical dementia. In this video, Dr. Greger does a good job of laying out some of the risk factors.

Alzheimer’s disease, aspirin, and DHA

9 Jul

Alzheimer’s disease is known to involve inflammatory processes. Many hold out hope that a regular regime of aspirin (an anti-inflammatory agent) might reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, research results have been mixed. For example, here is one study that found a protective effect with high dose aspirin and a small, but not statistically significant, effect for low dose aspirin.

Now a paper, published in the journal Aging and Disease, speculates that aspirin and DHA together might offers protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

One final note, fish oil is not the best way add DHA to your diet. As Dr. Gregor points out:

“People consuming fish and fish oil may exceed the World Health Organization’s daily safety limit for dioxins and dioxin-like substances, such as PCBs, which reduces value of fish as a DHA source. In fact, fish oil may be so contaminated, it may even increase inflammatory markers”

There are now plant based DHA supplements available. I use  DEVA No Fish Vegan DHA 

 

 

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