June 21, 2006

Indy Shrink


There are so many things developing in the world of science and psychology that might have some relevance that I thought I would, from time to time, bring a few to your attention. For example, here is something for all of us who are approaching or living in our "old age." It concerns Alzheimer's and how we might possibly do something about this dreaded disease which has afflicted so many friends and family.

This is more in the spirit of preventative rather than reversing, so consider what is being said carefully for the future integrity of your brain and mind. The material comes from a recent study at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Here is an opening quote: Calorie restriction may prevent Alzheimer's through promotion of longevity program in the brain. For the first time researchers show how restricting caloric intake triggers activity in the brain associated with longevity.

"Both clinical and epidemiological evidence suggests that modification of lifestyle factors such as nutrition may prove crucial to Alzheimer's Disease management," says Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Director of the Neuroinflammation Research Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "This research, however, is the first to show a connection between nutrition and Alzheimer's Disease neuropathy by defining mechanistic pathways in the brain and scrutinizing biochemical functions. We hope these findings further unlock the mystery of Alzheimer's and bring hope to the millions of Americans suffering from this disease."

This study is the first to suggest that caloric restriction through promotion of SIRT1 (a molecule associated with brain longevity) may initiate a cascade of events like the activation of alpha-secretase which can prevent AD amyloid neuropathology. Since alpha-secretase is known also to inhibit the generation of beta-amyloid peptides in the AD affected brain, the study demonstrates a mechanism by which dietary caloric restriction might benefit AD. Most remarkably, the study finds that a high caloric intake based on saturated fat promotes AD type beta-amyloidosis, while caloric restriction based on reduced carbohydrate intake is able to prevent it.

Among lifestyle factors influencing AD, recent studies strongly support the evidence that caloric intake may play a role in the relative risk for AD clinical dementia. Most importantly, as mechanistic pathways are defined and their biochemical functions scrutinized, the evidence supporting a direct link between nutrition and AD neuropathology continues to grow. So what does that mean to you? Consider seriously the possibility that all of those empty carbs from starchy, low complex foods may be frying your brain, literally and move up to more complex veggies and fruits. Do some reading about this to save your brain and your mind and let me know what you think.

Frank Mosca Ph.D. is a life coach

and marital counselor. Inquire about his "putting minds in motion seminars," at mosca@optonline.net.

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