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Ketogenic diet may help Alzheimer's disease

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By Jimmy Downs

Tueasday March 12, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Brain Research suggests that a ketogenic diet may help people with Alzheimer's disease, but unlikely by ameliorating the β-Amyloid pathology.

β-Amyloid (Aβ), a small, fibrillogenic peptide, is found in people who suffer Alzheimer's disease and also in the skeletal muscle cells in those diagnosed with sporadic inclusion body myositis - an age-related muscle disease.  It is believed that anything that prevents β-Amyloid accumulation in the brain may help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

High-fat, low carb ketogenic diet is commonly used  to treat refractory childhood epilepsy and  may potentially be used to help other neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, the authors said. 

In the current study, a ketogenic diet was used by young mice that had been genetically modified to be prone to developing Alzheimer's disease and Aβ levels in the brain and skeletal muscle were measured and motor performance and oxidative stress were assessed.

Mice at risk of Alzheimer's disease using the ketogenic diet for more than one month did not change Aβ and its precursor, the β-C-terminal fragment of amyloid precursor protein (CTFβ), either in their brain/skeletal muscle cells nor reduce oxidative stress.

However, the ketogenic diet did improve performance on the Rota-rod apparatus, the study found.

The study suggests that the ketogenic diet may help neurologic diseases like Alzheimer's disease and muscle disease but unlikely by affecting Aβ pathology.

No one should rush to start following a ketogenic diet to treat Alzheimer's disease as this study is an animal study and more research remains to be done.   Ketogenic diet by itself may cause some health problems when used for a long term.

Alzheimer's disease has no cure.  Physical trauma such as concussions and chemical trauma like frequent exposures to pesticides can cause the disease.

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