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Diet, Diabetes & Dementia

March 18, 2014

A common compound in the Western diet may contribute to both diabetes and dementia.



Diabetes, dementia, and diet. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Chemicals called AGEs, prevalent in cooked meat, may contribute to both diabetes and dementia. This according to the work of Helen Vlassara, professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. In the latest study, her team fed mice diets with levels of AGE equivalent to a typical Western diet. Those mice developed brain inflammation and amyloid plaques, which are seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

HELEN VLASSARA (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai):

And they also developed impaired cognitive and memory function.

They also had low levels of an enzyme that protects against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, mice that consumed half as much AGE stayed perfectly healthy. In a separate study, older humans with already high AGE levels showed cognitive declines and elevated diabetes risk factors over just nine months of observation. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.