Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a key difference in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and those who are cognitively normal but still have brain plaques that characterize this type of dementia. There’s one more piece of the puzzle in place in this new research, but this study raises more questions than it answers, according to the researchers.
“There is a very interesting group of people whose thinking and memory are normal, even late in life, yet their brains are full of amyloid beta plaques that appear to be identical to what’s seen in Alzheimer’s disease,” explains David L. Brody, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology, in the October 22, 2012 news release Clue to cause of Alzheimer’s dementia found in brain samples. “How this can occur is a tantalizing clinical question. It makes it clear that we don’t understand exactly what causes dementia.”
Hard plaques made of a protein called amyloid beta are always present in the brain of a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to Brody. But the simple presence of plaques does not always result in impaired thinking and memory. In other words, the plaques are necessary – but not sufficient – to cause Alzheimer’s dementia.
Smaller molecules of amyloid beta, not enough of them to form a plaque, rather than larger ones are correlated with dementia
The new study, available online in Annals of Neurology, still implicates amyloid beta in causing Alzheimer’s dementia, but not necessarily in the form of plaques. Instead, smaller molecules of amyloid beta dissolved in the brain fluid appear more closely correlated with whether a person develops symptoms of dementia. Called amyloid beta “oligomers,” they contain more than a single molecule of amyloid beta but not so many that they form a plaque.
Oligomers floating in brain fluid have long been suspected to have a role in Alzheimer’s disease
The oligomers, though are difficult to measure. Most methods only detect their presence or absence, or very large quantities. Brody and his colleagues developed a sensitive method to count even small numbers of oligomers in brain fluid and used it to compare amounts in their samples.
The researchers examined samples of brain tissue and fluid from 33 deceased elderly subjects (ages 74 to 107). Ten subjects were normal – no plaques and no dementia. Fourteen had plaques, but no dementia. And nine had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease – both plaques and dementia.
They found that cognitively normal patients with plaques and Alzheimer’s patients both had the same amount of plaque, but the Alzheimer’s patients had much higher oligomer levels.
Alzheimer’s patients had a much higher ratio of oligomers to plaques
Even oligomer levels did not completely distinguish the two groups. For example, some people with plaques but without dementia still had oligomers, even in similar quantity to some patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Where the two groups differed completely, according to Brody and his colleagues, was the ratio of oligomers to plaques. They measured more oligomers per plaque in patients with dementia, and fewer oligomers per plaque in the samples from cognitively normal people.
In people with plaques but no dementia, Brody speculates that the plaques could serve as a buffer, binding with free oligomers and keeping them tied down. And in dementia, perhaps the plaques have exceeded their capacity to capture the oligomers, leaving them free to float in the brain’s fluid, where they can damage or interfere with neurons.
Difficulty in measuring oligomer levels because it’s possible they only form after death
Brody cautions that, due to the difficulty in getting samples, oligomer levels have never been measured in living people. Therefore, it’s possible these floating clumps of amyloid beta only form after death. Even so, he says, there is still a clear difference between the two groups.
“The plaques and oligomers appear to be in some kind of equilibrium,” Brody says, according to the news release, Clue to cause of Alzheimer’s dementia found in brain samples. “What happens to shift the relationship between the oligomers and plaques? Like much Alzheimer’s research, this study raises more questions than it answers. But it’s an important next piece of the puzzle.”
Esparza TJ, Zhao H, Cirrito JR, Cairns NJ, Bateman RJ, Holtzman DM, Brody DL. Amyloid-beta oligomerization in Alzheimer dementia versus high-pathology controls. Annals of Neurology. Accepted Article, Online Sept. 1, 2012.
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, the Thrasher Research Fund, the National Institute on Aging, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, and the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Core Grant to Washington University. Grant numbers: NIH R01 NS065069, NIH K08 NS049237, NIH AG13956, NIH AG029524, NIH K-23-AG03094601, NIH R-01-NS065667, NIH P50-AG05681, NIH P30 NS057105, and NIH P01-AG03991. Human brain and CSF samples were provided by the Washington University Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC Heath Care.
Can daily doses of pure resveratrol can delay or alter memory deterioration and daily functioning in people with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s?
In May of 2012 researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, began a new clinical study funded by a grant from the NIH/National Institute on Aging to see whether resveratrol, a compound found in red wine and red grapes could change the course of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a May 14, 2012 news release, “Georgetown physician leads national resveratrol study for Alzheimer’s disease,” a national, phase II clinical trial examining the effects of resveratrol on individuals with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease has begun. More than than two dozen academic institutions are recruiting volunteers in the coming months. R. Scott Turner, M.D., Ph.D., director of Georgetown University Medical Center’s Memory Disorders Program, is the lead investigator for the national study. Resveratrol is a compound found in red grapes, red grape juice, red wine, chocolate, tomatoes and peanuts.
Pre-clinical and pilot clinical research studies suggest that resveratrol may prevent diabetes, act as a natural cancer fighter, ward off cardiovascular disease, and prevent memory loss. But there has been no large definitive study of its effects in humans.
Locally, in the Sacramento and Davis area, research studies with resveratrol and also with grape seed extract have been done at the University of California, Davis. See the UC Davis PDF file article based on a study, “Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet.” In the UC Davis study, the resveratrol acted as if there were calorie restriction but high nutrition on the lab animal’s diets.
More government money in 2012 is available to fight Alzheimer’s disease
On February 7, 2012 the Obama administration announced new efforts to fight Alzheimer’s disease, including immediately making an additional $50 million available for cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research. In addition, the administration announced that its Fiscal Year 2013 budget will boost funding for Alzheimer’s research by $80 million.
At the same time, the Obama administration also announced an additional $26 million in caregiver support, provider education, public awareness and improvements in data infrastructure. On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), which calls for an aggressive and coordinated national Alzheimer’s disease plan.
The Act also established an Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, which brings together some of the Nation’s foremost experts on Alzheimer’s disease to inform the development of the national plan. The preliminary framework for the National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan identifies key goals including preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. As work on the plan continues, the Obama Administration is taking action.
Will this new 2012 study suggest that resveratrol may impede molecular mechanisms of aging?
Animal studies suggest that resveratrol may impede molecular mechanisms of aging. Human population studies suggest several health benefits from modest daily consumption of red wine, but the mechanisms of action in the body are unknown.
The risk of health problems such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular illness, and memory loss increases with aging. Scientists now are studying whether resveratrol can help to prevent or slow down these diseases associated with aging. In this way resveratrol may be called an anti-aging food extract from certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes and tomatoes.
Last year another study at Maastricht University in The Netherlands also showed the health benefits of a specific amount of resveratrol. In that 2011 study, scientists found that resveratrol offers a host of health benefits. Check out the November 2, 2011 Washington Post article about that study by Rob Stein, “Substance in red wine shows promise in first human study.”
Those who already have diabetes will not be included in this latest 2012 study
“Most resveratrol studies showing any health benefits have been conducted in animal models, such as mice, and with doses that far exceed intake from sipping wine or nibbling on chocolate,” says R. Scott Turner, M.D., Ph.D., director of Georgetown University Medical Center’s Memory Disorders Program, according to the May 14, 2012 news release, Georgetown physician leads national resveratrol study for Alzheimer’s disease.
“With this clinical trial, we’ll find out whether daily doses of pure resveratrol can delay or alter memory deterioration and daily functioning in people with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s. During this study, we will also test whether resveratrol improves glucose and insulin metabolism in older individuals — although those who already have diabetes will not be included in this study.”
Can resveratrol improve glucose and insulin metabolism in older individuals?
Resveratrol is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. It is not known if resveratrol can change the course of the disease.
Not everyone who enrolls in the study will receive resveratrol. Half of the participants will receive a placebo (a sugar pill made to look like the resveratrol pill) to allow researchers to more objectively test the benefits of resveratrol. Neither the patient nor the clinical staff will know if the study participant is receiving the placebo or resveratrol until the end of the study.
“This is the gold-standard for conducting a clinical study because it allows us to objectively determine whether resveratrol is offering any benefits,” explains Brigid Reynolds, NP, lead investigator for the study at Georgetown, according to the news release.
The safety and tolerability of resveratrol will be examined in this study
In addition, the phase II study will examine the safety and tolerability of resveratrol administered twice daily with a dose increase planned at three-month intervals, she says. According to the National Institute on Aging, more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. are suffering from Alzheimer’s, and every 70 seconds, another person develops this disease. In Washington, DC, more than 9,000 people aged 65 and older are currently living with Alzheimer’s.
The resveratrol study will be conducted at 26 U.S. academic institutions that are affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study. Patients who volunteer for the study cannot be enrolled in another clinical trial during the study period. They will also be asked to abstain from eating or drinking large quantities of foods or beverages that contain resveratrol, and abstain from taking dietary supplements containing resveratrol.
The study will last for 12 months
Each patient will be in the study for a twelve-month period and will require a study partner (spouse, friend or caregiver) to visit the Georgetown University Medical Center 10 times over the course of that year. Participants must be willing and able to undergo two lumbar punctures (a procedure where a needle is inserted into the lower spine to collect fluid), three MRI scans of the brain, and blood and urine tests during the course of the study.
The research is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), through a grant from the National Institute on Aging (National Institutes of Health -NIH). Also see, We can’t wait: Administration announces new steps to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
To learn more about the resveratrol study or other Alzheimer’s studies underway at Georgetown, contact Kelly Behan in the GUMC Memory Disorders Program by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at memory.georgetown.edu. Georgetown study participants must speak English.
What fats possibly are protective against Alzheimer’s disease and which types of saturated fats boost tau and amyloid-beta proteins?
According to some studies, coconut oil is used to prevent and in early cases reverse Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists are studying whether coconut oil can help people with specific ailments because medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil produces the ketones used by the brain to reverse and/or slow down the progression of specific diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and sometimes Huntington’s, but research is ongoing. Check out the Oct. 5, 2010 article, “Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease.”
One example of research on vegetables, nuts, grains, oils, and fruits is the UC Davis database on Produce Safety. Across the nation research on coconut oil is currently focusing on whether coconut oil reverse Alzheimer’s disease? There also are studies continuing on Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease to see whether these conditions can be reversed or slowed down with coconut oil or other medium-chain trigyliceride edible oils.
According to the article, Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease, “…with Alzheimer’s disease, certain brain cells may have difficulty utilizing glucose (made from the carbohydrates we eat), the brain’s principal source of energy. Without fuel, these precious neurons may begin to die. There is an alternative energy source for brain cells—fats known as ketones. If deprived of carbohydrates, the body produces ketones naturally.”
One way to produce ketones is by consuming oils that have medium-chain triglycerides such as extra virgin coconut oil. According to the article, “Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease,” “When MCT oil is digested, the liver converts it into ketones. In the first few weeks of life, ketones provide about 25 percent of the energy newborn babies need to survive.”
As you read the article, “Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease,” you’ll see how the doctor in the article learned that the ingredient in one Alzheimer’s disease drug trial which was showing so much promise was simply medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil derived from coconut oil or palm kernel oil. As for taking a few teaspoons daily of coconut oil, the doctor in that article found that a dose of 20 grams (about 20 ml or 4 teaspoons) was used to produce these results.
When medium chain triglyceride (MCT) edible oil is metabolized, the ketones which the body creates may, according to the latest research, not only protect against the incidence of Alzheimer’s, but may actually reverse it, the article, “Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease,” reports. Moreover, this is also a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), drug-resistant epilepsy, brittle type I diabetes, and type II (insulin-resistant) diabetes. So the question now arises, has coconut oil helped to reverse other people from these diseases? If so, what was their individual regimen with coconut oil or other MCT oils?
Did you hear the KSTE station Sacramento radio show, The Wide World of Health, February 28, 2010, second hour, where Carey Nosler spoke with a guest naturopath on the health benefits of fresh coconut? Try eating some raw shredded coconut, if you’re not allergic to coconut. Also coconut oil helps to heal mouth ulcers.
Listen online to the MP3 podcast. The Wide World of Health 02/28 Hr 2. The Wide World of Health 02/28 Hr 2, Sunday, February 28, 2010. The guest speaker showcased for the second hour of the show, Dr. Bruce Fife, N.D. about the wonderful world of Coconuts. Check out the Coconut Research Center.
According to the Coconut Research Center site, when you eat coconut, your HDL (good) cholesterol always increases. The rise in total cholesterol that some people experience is due mostly to an increase in good cholesterol. Your cholesterol ratio (total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol) improves, thus reducing your risk of heart disease. Also see the news release, Hypothyroidism and Virgin Coconut Oil.
See the following articles, Coconut Oil for Alzheimer’s, Is coconut oil the secret cure for Alzheimer’s disease?, Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease, Coconut Oil Can Help Fight Alzheimer’s, Can coconut oil treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease?, Virgin Coconut Oil – Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease with VCO, Coconut Oil for Alzheimer’s, Dr. Benjamin Snider » How Coconut Oil May Prevent Alzheimer’s, What if there were a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease – Coconut Oil and Ketones, and Can Ketone Bodies from Coconut Oil Cure or Prevent Alzheimer’s?
University of California, Davis studies the health benefits of a variety of foods. Check out the latest database at UC Davis on Produce Safety. University of California Davis Center for Produce Study is seeking to include in its database studies published within the past five years (with older studies added when deemed relevant) as well as relevant studies in progress. The CPS database consults a wide range of sources to identify publicly-funded research from around the world. U.S. sources include USDA, FDA, UC-ANR, and ARS. Investigators funded by CPS have also been valuable resources.
Have you noticed how fast coconut tames simple summer diarrhea? It’s even recommended in small amounts to help tame your dog’s diarrhea. Now studies all over the nation are focusing on research about how coconut oil may influence Alzheimer’s disease and helps with certain liver problems.
The studies need to address projects of research published on any fresh fruit, fresh vegetable, and/or nuts. Studies must be written in or translated into English are included at this time. Ongoing studies around the country lately are focusing on uses of coconut to heal simple diarrhea and mouth ulcers. With June in Sacramento starts the summer diarrhea season.
Fats That Increase the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
There’s a lot of controversy about what kinds of edible fats increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. See the study’s abstract, “Dietary fats and the risk of incident Alzheimer disease.” Arch Neurol. 2003 Aug;60(8):1072. According to the study’s conclusion, high intake of unsaturated, unhydrogenated fats may be protective against Alzheimer disease, whereas intake of saturated or trans-unsaturated (hydrogenated) fats may increase risk. Also see the article, “Excess Belly Fat Raises Risk of Alzheimer’s, Other Dementias.”
See the article, Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease: What the Evidence Shows: Dietary Fat. According to this article, the New York study found evidence of a greater 4-year risk of Alzheimer’s disease for those with higher intakes of total fat and saturated fat but no evidence of an association with the intake of polyunsaturated fat.
Investigators for the Rotterdam study also found an increased risk of disease with higher intakes of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol after 2 years of follow-up, but none of the dietary fats was associated with Alzheimer’s disease after 6 years of follow-up. Further study will be required to understand the inconsistent findings across studies and to determine whether the composition of fat in the diet is causally related to risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Another study in October, 2008 put the blame on animal fat, but not on omega 3 fatty acids. See, Animal Fats Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease? According to this study from Quebec City, a team of Université Laval researchers has shown that the main neurological markers for Alzheimer’s disease are exacerbated in the brains of mice fed a diet rich in animal fat and poor in omega-3s. Details of the study—which suggests that diets typical of most industrialized countries promote the development of Alzheimer’s—are outlined in the latest online edition of Neurobiology of Aging. Also see, A high animal fat diet boosts Alzheimer’s related proteins in rats.
In the study using mice, the mice whose diet was poor in omega-3s and rich in fat (60% of consumed calories) showed on the high-fat diet reduced drebrin protein levels in the brain, another characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease as well as another characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease: amyloid-beta and tau protein concentrations respectively 8.7 and 1.5 times higher than the control group mice, whose food contained 7 times less fat.
Also check out the 2008 study, Aging Diet Brain Studies, Randall Parker. And still another study discovered a link between weight loss and improved memory and concentration. The study shows that bariatric surgery patients exhibited improved memory function 12 weeks after their operations. The findings are published in an issue of Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, the Official Journal of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The research report’s abstract also is available online here.
Concerning other foods often eaten because of the many media reports as being healthy, which they are in moderation, see the article, “FDA to Diamond Foods: “Your Walnuts Are Drugs”: by Karen De Coster The LRC Blog. The point is that nutrition is a topic to be read by those curious about the relationships between good health and nourishing foods.
Coconut is a traditional South Pacific Islander remedy for diarrhea. Coconut also helps humans as well as dogs combat diarrhea. You can even make a sugar-free coconut macaroon to give to your dog to help ease diarrhea. Why does coconut milk help some people with its anti-microbial properties but make other people fat? See the article, “Obesity among Malays in Singapore – is coconut milk to blame?.”
Can you use coconut milk to balance your electrolytes? See the article, “Coconut Milk Cures: balances electrolytes, lowers BPM.” You have to look at three different drinks: coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut water. Then you have to consider the health effects or benefits of the fiber from the coconut meat.
Of course, you’ll want medical advice. But if you’re stranded on a Pacific Island with relentless diarrhea, and you have no access to medical advice, think about trying raw, shredded coconut. The theory behind this is that coconut oil is anti-microbial.
Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. For centuries coconut has been used in traditional folk medicine in areas where coconuts grow.
Learn how to cook with coconuts. To learn more visit Dr. Fife’s web site to view all of his numerious titles. You can download the radio MP3 file podcast at this site,
It’s a traditional South Pacific Islander remedy. It also works on humans as well as on dogs. You can even make a sugar-free coconut macaroon to give to your dog to help ease diarrhea.
Of course, you’ll want medical advice. But if you’re stranded on a Pacific Island with relentless diarrhea, and you have no access to medical advice, think about trying raw, shredded coconut. The theory behind this is that coconut oil is anti-microbial.
According to Grandma’s Wisdom site, coconut milk helps curb diarrhea. And at Info-Barrel, stop diarrhea with pomegranates and coconut macaroons. Watch the brief video on the site that recommends coconut macaroons and pomegranate juice to control simple diarrhea. Make sure your problem isn’t caused by food poisoning from potato salad that went bad, in which case, see your doctor right away.
It has been said today’s headlines become tomorrow’s footnotes. And there are plenty of recipes that also discuss coconut milk remedies. Can you really stop chronic diarrhea with coconut milk or coconut oil in both humans and dogs? Do coconut remedies really work?
Coconut oil has been used to heal mouth ulcers such as canker sores. It’s a traditional folkloric recipe used in tropical areas in the Pacific and Caribbean for healing sores caused by various viruses or bacteria because coconut oil has some antimicrobial properties.
If you browse the natural healing sites, some suggest eating some raw shredded coconut, if you’re not allergic to coconut for soothing stomach problems due to irritation or bacterial infection. Coconut milk is high in saturated fat. But it’s those medium chain saturated fatty acids, not the long chain saturated fatty acids in animal fat that fill up your arteries.
Coconut Remedies Resources
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Diagnose-Me: Treatment: Coconut
Coconuts and Coconut Oil: Natural Cure | HealthMad
Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems
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Coconut Oil Cures | Dabur Vatika Hair Oil | KTC Coconut Oil
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Obesity among Malays in Singapore – is coconut milk to blame?
View this video by physician, Dr. Mercola on coconut oil for healing and as a source of anti-microbial monolaurin ( from lauric acid).