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Unformatted text preview: DIETARY FACTORS AND ALZHEIMERS DISEASE Saeed R. Faruqui, Ph.D Physiology Department Palmer College of Chiropractic 1000 Brady Street, Davenport, Iowa ABSTRACT Millions of persons are affected by Alzheimers disease (AD) each year in the United States. A broad range of estimates indicate that this disorder will become a major health problem in the 21 st century as the prevalence and incidence of AD approximately doubles every 5 years beyond age 65. Although the pathophysiology and the progression of the disease are somewhat understood, prevention options have not been proven and much needs to be learned about treatment. There are many risk factors for the disease, such as old age, family history, oxidative stress, neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, hypertension, diabetes, and the nutritional factors. In this paper we will examine nutritional components that may cause AD and discuss preventative strategies. Studies indicate an association between dietary intake and AD. There is evidence that the intake of a number of nutrients such as vitamins E and C, folate, and polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega-3 fatty acid) and monounsaturated fatty acids may lower the risk of developing AD, or slow the progression of the disease. By contrast, a high intake of saturated fat, or even a moderate intake of trans fat may increase the Alzheimers risk two-to- three fold. Epidemiological and clinical data suggest that persons with high cholesterol levels and elevated homocysteine levels are also at increased risk of developing Alzheimers disease. Key Words: Alzheimers disease, brain, oxidative stress, cholesterol, diet, fatty acids, homocysteine, and vitamins INTRODUCTION As the population of elderly persons over 65 years of age is rapidly rising in the United States and elsewhere, and since these individuals are also living longer, cognitive impairment, such as dementia is becoming a greater public health concern. There will soon be 70 million elderly people over the age of 65 years in the USA according to recent estimates 1 The most common cause of cognitive impairment is dementia. Memory impairment and loss of intellectual functions are hallmarks of dementia, and the most common form of dementia is Alzheimers disease. Age is a key risk factor for AD, so our aging world will see an increase in the prevalence of AD in the coming decades. 2 The incidence of AD follows a roughly exponential pattern with a doubling every five years after age 65. Epidemiological studies indicate that roughly 7% of the population aged 65 and over has AD. 2 It is estimated that AD affects 4.5 million Americans today, double the number of AD in 1980. 3 Advancing age, the presence of apolipoprotein-epsilon4 (APOE) allele on chromosome 19, family history, and Downs syndrome are four risk factors that are firmly established in the scientific literature....
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This note was uploaded on 01/07/2012 for the course PHCH 6234 taught by Professor Farqui during the Winter '11 term at Palmer Chiropractic.
- Winter '11