ExpBio: Dietary Calcium May Affect Brain Lesion Volume

In older adults, high intakes are associated with a greater brain lesion volume

THURSDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Among older adults, those with high dietary intakes of calcium and vitamin D have greater brain lesion volumes than those with lower intakes, which may increase the risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, depression and stroke, according to research presented this week at the Experimental Biology 2007 conference in Washington, D.C.

Martha Payne, Ph.D., of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues studied 232 subjects aged 60 and older, including 95 with depression. The investigators used the Block 1998 food frequency questionnaire to assess the subjects' calcium and vitamin D intakes and magnetic resonance imaging to measure their brain lesion volume.

The researchers found a positive association between calcium and vitamin D intake and brain lesion volume. They also found that this association remained significant after controlling for age, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, group (depression/comparison), lesion load (high/low) and total kilocalories. When the researchers used a multivariable model containing both calcium and vitamin D, however, they found that only vitamin D continued to be positively associated with brain lesion volume.

"These associations may be due to a vascular calcification mechanism," the authors conclude. "Potential adverse effects of high intakes of calcium and vitamin D need to be elucidated."


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