Diet and Exercise Can Affect the Brain 'at the Molecular Level'
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:00 AM

Modifiable risk factors, such as exercise and consuming a Mediterranean-style diet (MedDiet), can reduce amyloid plaque in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), lowering their risk for conversion to Alzheimer's disease, suggests new imaging research.

The small study with MCI or subjective memory impairment (SMI) showed that those with a higher adherence to a MedDiet had significantly lower positron emission tomography (PET) measures of amyloid plaques and tau tangles than those with a lower adherence.

In addition, the patients with MCI who reported higher levels of physical activity had lower PET measures of amyloid and tau binding, whereas those with a higher body mass index (BMI) had higher measures of binding.

The findings, especially showing that those who more regularly ate a Mediterranean-style diet had lower levels of these plaques and tangles, represent ‘smoking gun' evidence of the molecular fingerprint of this disease process — and that there's less of this binding when you strive to live healthily.

The investigators note that approximately 50% of all Alzheimer's cases are associated with modifiable dementia risk factors and that reducing these risks by 10% to 25% could potentially cut 500,000 cases in the United States and 1 to 3 million cases worldwide.