Saturday, July 7, 2012

Alzheimer's disease linked to cholesterol metabolism

Just published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences*, "The link between altered cholesterol metabolism and Alzheimer's disease," by Paola Gamba, Gabriella Testa, Barbara Sottero, Simona Gargiulo, Giuseppe Poli, and Gabriella Leonarduzzi:
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is characterized by the progressive loss of neurons and synapses, and by extracellular deposits of amyloid-β (Aβ) as senile plaques, Aβ deposits in the cerebral blood vessels, and intracellular inclusions of hyperphosphorylated tau in the form of neurofibrillary tangles. Several mechanisms contribute to AD development and progression, and increasing epidemiological and molecular evidence suggests a key role of cholesterol in its initiation and progression. Altered cholesterol metabolism and hypercholesterolemia appear to play fundamental roles in amyloid plaque formation and tau hyperphosphorylation. Over the last decade, growing evidence supports the idea that cholesterol oxidation products, known as oxysterols, may be the missing link between altered brain cholesterol metabolism and AD pathogenesis, as their involvement in neurotoxicity, mainly by interacting with Aβ peptides, is reported. [Emphasis mine.]
Given the new hypothesis, proposed last year by Dr Angelique Corthals, that multiple sclerosis is caused by faulty lipid metabolism--it is not, as was believed, an autoimmune disorder--this is not wholly surprising to me. It's my guess that a decade or so from now lipid metabolism will prove to be at the heart of many chronic illnesses. So watch your fat and carbohydrate intake, people: consume lots of omega-3 and -9 oils (fish, flax, olive oil) and reduce your empty starches (all grains, potatoes, and vile things such as high-fructose corn syrup). If your insulin cycle is okay it probably** can't hurt you and might help. Plus, it tastes good.

* DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06513.x, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1259 (2012) 54-64
** Emphasis on probably: I'm not qualified to give medical advice. Talk to your physician.
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