The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Using diet to modulate Alzheimer’s disease

    Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle, compared the effects of a high–saturated fat/high–glycemic index diet with a low–saturated fat/low–glycemic index diet on markers of Alzheimer disease and cognition in adults with mild cognitive impairment.

    First, the details.

    • 49 older adults (20 healthy and 29 with amnestic mild cognitive impairment) were assigned to a treatment group for 4 weeks.
      • HIGH diet (fat, 45% [saturated fat, less than 25%]; carbohydrates, 35% – 40% [glycemic index, greater than 70]; and protein, 15% – 20%)
      • LOW diet (fat, 25%; [saturated fat, less 7%]; carbohydrates, 55% – 60% [glycemic index, less than 55]; and protein, 15% – 20%)
    • Cognitive tests, an oral glucose tolerance test, and lumbar puncture were conducted at before and during the fourth week of the diet.
    • Cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of beta-amyloid (Abeta42 and Abeta40), tau protein, insulin, F2-isoprostanes, and apolipoprotein E, plasma lipids and insulin, and measures of cognition were measured.

    And, the results.

    • For the group with amnestic mild cognitive impairment:
      • The LOW diet increased CSF Abeta42 concentrations, contrary to lowered CSF Abeta42 typically observed in Alzheimer disease.
    • In healthy adults:
      • The LOW diet decreased CSF Abeta42.
      • The HIGH diet increased CSF Abeta42.
    • CSF apolipoprotein E concentration:
      • Increased by the LOW diet and decreased by the HIGH diet for both groups.
    • More results
      • The CSF insulin concentration increased with the LOW diet in the amnestic mild cognitive impairment group.
      • The HIGH diet lowered the CSF insulin concentration for healthy adults.
      • The HIGH diet increased and the LOW diet decreased plasma lipids, insulin, and CSF F2-isoprostane (marker for oxidative stress) concentrations.
      • Delayed visual memory improved for both groups after completing 4 weeks of the LOW diet.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Diet may be a powerful environmental factor that modulates Alzheimer disease risk through its effects on central nervous system concentrations of Abeta42, lipoproteins, oxidative stress, and insulin.

    More about Abeta42 is here.

    6/17/11 22:24 JR

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