Alzheimer's Conference Highlights Diet, Vitamin Intake forPrevention

August 26, 2002

2 Min Read
Alzheimer's Conference Highlights Diet, Vitamin Intake forPrevention

Alzheimer's Conference Highlights Diet, Vitamin Intake forPrevention

STOCKHOLM, Sweden--The 8th InternationalConference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders featured severalpresentations that suggest diet and vitamin intake play a part in preventingAlzheimer's disease. The conference, founded by the World Association ofAlzheimer's Disease Scientists and currently hosted by the Alzheimer'sAssociation (, was held here July20 to 25.

Maria M. Corrada of the John's Hopkins Alzheimer's DiseaseResearch Center in Baltimore and colleagues identified a link between vitamin Eintake and a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease (Abstract #1021). Theyreviewed dietary data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, amultidisciplinary study of normal aging. The first record was analyzed for 579participants (aged 60 years and older); over an average of 9.3 years offollow-up, 57 cases of Alzheimer's disease were diagnosed. Increased intake ofvitamin E was associated with a progressive decrease in the risk of Alzheimer's.While similar associations were observed with vitamin C, researchers noted thereduction of relative risks was not statistically significant.

Grace J. Petot and colleagues from Cleveland's Case WesternReserve University reviewed dietary patterns of adults between 40 and 59 yearsof age as they correlated with Alzheimer's disease risk (Abstract #1124).Researchers found that eating a diet high in antioxidants and low in fat,characterized by fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tomatoes, seafood andpoultry, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

Petot composed an additional presentation with her colleagueRobert Friedland recommending dietary habits to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's(Abstract #20). They hypothesized that Alzheimer's may be a "disease ofmodern life" that reflects an imbalance between lifestyle and genetictendencies, and noted that the most important risk factor for Alzheimer's is thepresence of the apolipoprotein E-e4 (ApoE-e4) allele, which is also associatedwith increased plasma cholesterol levels. Because studies have shown high fatintake and low fish intake are risk factors for Alzheimer's, researchersrecommended a diet low in fat, but high in fish and antioxidants, andsupplemented with vitamin E and folic acid, as well as vitamins B6 and B12 (tolower homocysteine).

Petot, Friedland and colleagues from Case Western furtherstudied the correlation between vitamin B12, folic acid and Alzheimer's diseaserisk (Abstract #1135). Because plasma total homocysteine levels are a riskfactor for cardiovascular disease and stroke, and because cardiovascular diseaseand stroke are risk factors for Alzheimer's, an inverse relationship has beenidentified between total homocysteine levels and plasma B12 and folate levels,according to researchers. In studying 79 Alzheimer's patients and 156 controlsfrom three Arab villages, Petot and colleagues found that plasma totalhomocysteine was significantly higher in the Alzheimer's patients compared tocontrols. However, plasma vitamin B12 and plasma folate levels were not seen todiffer significantly between the groups after adjustment for age. Regardless,the researchers concluded that the higher homocysteine levels seen in Arabpopulations compared to subjects in the United States may be related to a lackof grain fortification with folate in the Middle East.

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