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Reducing calorie and carbohydrate intake may affect Alzheimer's disease risk.

Reducing calorie and carbohydrate intake may affect Alzheimer's disease risk.

In a study published in the 2/05 The FJ Express professor Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD,and his team used mice bred to have an Alzheimer's-like brain disease. When the mice were 3 months old, the researchers divided them into two groups. One group ate a standard rodent diet. The other mice got 30 percent fewer calories. Calories were trimmed by reducing carbohydrates. Protein, fat, cholesterol, vitamins, and minerals were the same in both groups of mice.

After nine months, the mice brains were examined. The low-calorie, low-carb group "almost completely" avoided forming plaque in their brains, say the researchers. The same sort of plaque has been found in deceased Alzheimer's patients’ brains. The low-carb, low-calorie mice also matured normally and maintained a healthy weight.

"This rather mild change in diet resulted in a remarkable measure of disease prevention," says Pasinetti in the news release.

The mice on the standard rodent diet weren’t as fortunate. They got no dietary protection against their brain disease. They also gained weight.

The low-calorie, low-carb diet may have unleashed a helpful chemical chain reaction. The low-calorie, low-carb mice had higher levels of a chemical that may break down plaque's building blocks. That could have thwarted the plaque components before they had a chance to aggregate and clog the brain.

The researchers don’t know that for sure. It's possible that the low-calorie diet influenced the brain in other ways. But there's enough reason to keep studying diet and Alzheimer's, they conclude.

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