Wednesday, January 10, 2007

116 in the news

Two news items. Nothing new for my dad; haven't seen him for a few days.
Higher Folate Levels May Lower Alzheimer's Risk
I find it interesting that this article came out this week, since it's National Folic Acid Awareness Week. (Do you think I can make it up? Here's a link to an article I just posted yesterday at work about it.)
People with higher levels of the nutrient folate from both diet and supplements may have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.
What about people who already have it? Does it help then?
Those with a higher intake of folate from both diet and supplements had a lower risk of Alzheimer's than other people in the study. However, neither dietary intake of folate nor supplements alone had an effect; only the two in combination appeared to produce a benefit.
The researchers found that higher folate intake was modestly associated with lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and may also boost the risk for Alzheimer's disease.
That's interesting, because of course stroke is another cause of dementia.
(F)olate -- also known as folic acid -- works with vitamin B-12 and vitamin C to help the body digest and utilize proteins and to synthesize new proteins when they are needed. It's necessary for the production of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA. Folic acid also helps with tissue growth and cell function. In addition, it helps to increase appetite when needed and stimulates the formation of digestive acids. Food sources of folate include beans and legumes; citrus fruits and juices; wheat bran and other whole grains; dark green leafy vegetables; poultry; pork; shellfish and liver.
So drink your OJ! Eat your spinach (as long as it's not bagged e-coli type spinach)!

Alzheimer gene kicks in only in old age
A gene that predisposes its carriers to Alzheimer's disease appears to kick in only in old age and has nothing to do with mental declines that are sometimes seen early in life, Australian researchers have found.....The gene, APOE4, does not appear active at all until very late in life.
How do I find out if I've got it? And what about the books and articles I've read which say that the degeneration of Alzheimer's starts as early as your 30's but you compensate for many years? I'm 38 and every time I forget something I think, damn it's starting already? Am I wrong to worry already?
Performance on all tests declined across age groups, a sign of normal cognitive aging. However, APOE4 did not affect performance at any age....The memory changes that occur from 20 to 60 do not seem to be connected to that (APOE4) at all. ...
Clear signs of Alzheimer's usually begin to show when a victim is in their 80s. While many researchers agree that APOE4 seems to be the predominant risk factor for Alzheimer's, it is not entirely clear how it causes the debilitating disease.
It may have a role in repair of nerve cells. When there is nerve damage, people with APOE4 version seem less able to repair and less resistant to a whole lot of diseases or damage to the brain.
Well, that really wasn't that illuminating, was it? And no where in the article did it say when the gene "kicks in" (like the headline implied). Very misleading.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've read several items from your blog that are both interesting and moving and I can empathise with some of the experiences you and your family are going through.
One website I found interesting is this site ( where people can celebrate their memories of loved ones, events and moments. It's worth taking a look.