Restricted Diet May Help Prevent Alzheimer's

Low-calorie intake influenced a variety of age-related diseases in monkey study

SUNDAY, Sept. 24, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Cutting calories may halt or even reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's, according to a new animal study.

For the study, expected to be published in the November issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a team of researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City maintained a group of squirrel monkeys on either calorie-restrictive or normal diets throughout their lifespans.

Compared to those on a normal diet, the monkeys that were fed the reduced-calorie diet were less likely to have Alzheimer's disease-type changes in their brain.

The reduced-calorie diet was also associated with increased longevity of a protein known as SIRT1, which influences a variety of functions, including age-related diseases.

"The new breakthrough brings great anticipation for further human study of caloric restriction, for Alzheimer's disease investigators and for those physicians who treat millions of people suffering with this disease," study author Giulio Maria Pasinetti, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and director of the Neuroinflammation Research Center at the school, said in a prepared statement.

"The findings offer a glimmer of hope that there may someday be a way to prevent and stop this devastating disease in its tracks," Pasinetti said.

More information

The National Institute on Aging has more about Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCE: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, news release, Sept. 16, 2006
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