ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
CANCER
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Chemicals in Carpets, Non-Stick Pans Tied to Thyroid Disease
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
EYE CARE, VISION
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
FITNESS
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Add your Article

Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk

Eating a diet high in vegetables, fish, fruit, nuts and poultry, and low in red meat and butter may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, new research finds.

Researchers asked more than 2,100 New York City residents aged 65 and older about their dietary habits. Over the course of about four years, 253 developed Alzheimer's disease.

Those whose diets included the most salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower and broccoli), dark and green leafy vegetables, and the least red meat, high-fat dairy, organ meat and butter had a 38 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than those whose diets included fewer fruits, vegetables and poultry and more red meat and high-fat dairy.

"Following this dietary pattern seems to protect from Alzheimer's disease," said senior study author Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. But he added that "this is an observational study, not a clinical trial," meaning that researchers cannot say with certainty that eating a certain way helps prevent the disease.

The study was published online April 12 in the Archives of Neurology, and will appear in the journal's June print issue.

While similar to the well-known Mediterranean diet, the diet that seemed to be beneficial in this study is not identical because researchers didn't want to restrict themselves to considering only one culinary tradition. The Mediterranean diet included nine food groups; this study included 30, Scarmeas said.

The foods in those 30 groups are those that impact a list of seven fatty acids and nutrients, which previous research has associated with Alzheimer's disease risk. The nutrient combination included: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate.

"We found there was a combination of foods that affected the levels of these fats and vitamins, and by doing so, also affected the risk for getting Alzheimer's disease," Scarmeas said.

The researchers controlled for demographic factors such as age, education and ethnicity; genetic factors; smoking, body mass index and other medical conditions.

Dr. Samuel Gandy, a neurologist and cell biologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said the findings are consistent with other epidemiological studies that have found that people who stick to a diet that is good for the heart also have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.

"Everything that increases the risk for heart disease -- high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes -- all of these things also increase the risk for Alzheimer's," Gandy said.

The reasons for the connection are not fully understood. One possibility is that factors that impact the health of the blood vessels throughout the body may also impact the health of the blood vessels in the brain.

Doctors used to believe there were two separate causes of dementia: vascular dementia, due to blood vessel disease; and Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative process. "We now know that most people with dementia have some of both," Gandy said.

Still, while eating a "heart healthy" diet is probably a good idea and certainly can't hurt, what's not clear is just how much, say, broccoli a person has to eat to see benefits, Gandy added.

As for other lifestyle habits that can lower risk of Alzheimer's, exercise is the only intervention that has been demonstrated to be beneficial in randomized clinical trials, Gandy said.

A second study in the April issue of the same journal found that people with Alzheimer's disease lose lean mass as the disease progresses. Lean mass includes weight from the bones, muscles and organs.

People with Alzheimer's often lose weight unintentionally. The weight loss often begins prior to noticeable memory loss, according to background information in the article.

Researchers from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, assessed the body composition in 70 people aged 60 and older with early-stage Alzheimer's disease and 70 without the disease. Participants also had their brains scanned using MRI and neuropsychological testing.

Those with Alzheimer's disease had less lean mass, as well as decreases in the volume of the brain and white matter.

"Our data are consistent with other studies suggesting that brain pathology may contribute to decline in body composition, perhaps by disrupting central nervous system regulation of energy metabolism and food intake," the study authors wrote.

SOURCES: Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D., associate professor, neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, N.Y.; Samuel Gandy, Ph.D., M.D., Mount Sinai Professor in Alzheimer's Disease Research, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.; April 2010, Archives of Neurology Published on: April 12, 2010