Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cholestorol can trigger onset of Alzheimers


Diet high in cholesterol can trigger onset of Alzheimer's, warn scientists


An unhealthy diet filled with high-cholesterol foods can increase your risk of Alzheimer's Disease, say scientists.

Studies have found that eating lots of foods containing saturated fats, such as butter and red meat, can boost levels of proteins in the brain linked to dementia.


Now scientists have discovered this may be because such a diet affects cholesterol-clearing substances in the brain.

They hope the discovery could lead to new drugs which allow the clogging fats to be cleared more effectively and so help slow down the progression of the debilitating brain condition.

In Britain 500,000 people have Alzheimer's Disease in which the progressive loss of their brain cells leads to memory loss, mood changes and eventually death.

One of the key characteristics of people with the condition is the formation of clumps, or 'plaques' of beta amyloid proteins which are thought to destroy brain cells.

Scientists increasingly believe diet and lifestyle may affect the build up of these damaging proteins.

Studies have found a Mediterranean-style diet rich in plant foods and fish and low in red meat cuts the risk of developing the brain disease by up to two-thirds.

Research in mice has also found that those given high-cholesterol diets have more amyloid beta proteins in their brain.

And there is growing evidence that taking cholesterol-lowering statins makes people less likely to develop Alzheimer's later in life.

To understand what lay behind this trend, Dr Brett Garner, of the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, and his colleagues used human and animal cells to probe how brain cells regulate their levels of cholesterol.

In the arteries it is known that ABC proteins help control cholesterol levels by expelling it from the immune cells.

The study, reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found these proteins were also present in the brain cells.

When the boosted levels of the proteins by tweaking genes that affect production, cell lines production of amyloid beta protein fell.

The study also identified another protein in brain cells called apoE that regulates cholesterol removal from brain cells.

Dr Garner told New Scientist magazine that drugs that increase expression of these proteins might slow the progression of Alzheimer's.

Similar drugs are already being used for research into heart disease.

He said: "A lot of people think there could be converging factors involved in these diseases."

Large amounts of harmful cholesterol are found in foods high in saturated fats such as red meat, butter, cheese and offal such as liver and kidneys.

If people have a diet high in saturated fats, their liver produces more of the harmful form of cholesterol called LDL, which is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Scientists increasingly believe an unhealthy diet may be a contributing factor in developing dementia.

Previous research has found fish oil capsules may help slow the mental decline of those with very mild Alzheimer's disease.

Last September a team from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee found drinking fruit and vegetable juices more than three times a week could dramatically cut the chances of developing the condition.

Researchers from who followed almost 2,000 volunteers for up to ten years found the risk of Alzheimer's was 76 per cent lower for those who drank juices more than three times a week compared with those who drank them less than once a week.

Japanese scientists also found last year that green tea could halve the risk of mental decline in old age.

They found those who drank the tea the most - more than two cups a day - had a 54 per cent lower risk of dementia than those who drank the least.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Common Sense Security

This site is designed to give an overview of what we can do to keep our computers safer and more secure while we are on the Internet. I have known the owner (Mark Rider) for a long time and confirm that his site is secure AND gives out some very useful advice. I can  recommend it highly.


Treat autism with diet and drugs

MMR doctor says: Treat autism with diet and drugs

By RACHEL ELLIS - More by this author » Last updated at 22:34pm on 3rd February 2007

Comments Comments (19)

Transformation: Joanne Burke put autistic son Darryl on a special diet


The controversial doctor who started the MMR scare will return to Britain this week to issue a stark new warning about autism and claim many child victims don't need psychiatric help.

Dr Andrew Wakefield will claim that thousands of children with autism should not be receiving psychiatric help, but should be treated with drugs and a change in diet.

His assertion will anger the Government and doctors, who are desperate to draw a line under claims by Dr Wakefield in 1998 that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was linked to autism and bowel disease.

Share your thoughts on Dr Wakefield's opinions in readers' comments below...

Dr Wakefield will tell a conference on autism in Bournemouth that many children receive inappropriate care because it is largely considered a neurological condition. He is convinced that many are suffering from the bowel condition autistic enterocolitis and could be relieved of their symptoms - both physical and behavioural - if doctors were willing to treat it 'properly'.

He claims a climate of fear among doctors after the MMR controversy means few are willing to consider a link between autism and bowel disease.

The National Autistic Society says that some doctors are unaware of the treatment options. But it warns there is no established link between autism and bowel conditions.

"Most children diagnosed with autism tend to receive a psychological or behavioural programme because no other medical condition is indicated," said Richard Mills, director of research at the charity.

Dr Wakefield's rare trip back to Britain from America to speak at the Autism Is Treatable conference - funded by the parents of autistic children - comes amid growing criticism of his work.

At least 31 studies have found no association between MMR and autism and he has been ostracised by the medical profession.

But Dr Wakefield, who faces a General Medical Council hearing into his conduct this year, remains convinced there is a link.

He said: "The view among the medical profession is that autism is an incurable, untreatable problem, which it is not. The treatment is largely in the domain of psychiatrists.

"But it is not a psychiatric disease and it is not just a neurological disease. It is a disease that affects the brain rather than being simply a brain disease.

"A lot of the children's behaviour is linked to the pain they suffer. The children do something entirely appropriate for someone in pain whose ability to communicate is impaired.

"The changes we found in the intestines of some autistic children can be treated using diet or conventional anti-inflammatory drugs. When they are treated, a lot of the intestinal and behavioural problems are resolved.

"However, many children diagnosed with autism are not getting the treatment they need and, if they are, it is clandestine. There is a real fear among the medical profession about becoming involved in this whole area."

About one in 100 children is thought to suffer from autism.

Darryl Burke was two years old when a doctor found he wasn't speaking, making eye contact and had behavioural problems. He was diagnosed as autistic.

He also suffered from chronic diarrhoea, but NHS tests found no cause for the problem.

Then his mother Joanne was advised by a neighbour to change his diet. After four days of cutting out dairy and gluten products, his bowels were much improved.

Encouraged by the results, Mrs Burke found a diet on the internet for allergy-induced autism. She said: "Within a week he was looking at us, his bowels improved and he said his first words. He was almost four."

Unable to get further help on the NHS, Mrs Burke and her husband Peter went private. "We couldn't believe the difference between NHS testing and the private testing," she said.

"The private tests showed up all kinds of things - blood in the stools, bad bacteria, inflammation of the gut and the fact that he was lacking essential vitamins and minerals."

Mrs Burke, 36, from Manchester, said: "These children are treated for a psychological disorder but they have underlying medical problems. Treating these can lead to real improvements."

Darryl, now seven, attends a school for children with learning difficulties.