X-Message-Number: 12219
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 01:01:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: fat & dementia

From LOWCARB Digest - 28 Jul 1999 to 29 Jul 1999 (#1999-175)
Date:    Wed, 28 Jul 1999 18:54:16 -0400
From:    Dean Esmay <>
Subject: Fat & dementia

Low-Fat Diet, Dementia Linked

 Low-Fat Diet, Dementia Linked
 Associated Press Writer
           HONOLULU (AP) _ Researchers studying dementia say they have
 uncovered a possible health benefit to the relatively fatty Western
 diet, but they caution against changing eating habits based on the
           A study funded by the National Institute on Aging and the
 Department of Veterans Affairs found that a diet high in animal fat
 and protein may protect against the onset of dementia in people who
 have suffered a stroke. The study was published in the July 22
 issue of the journal Neurology.
           The findings are the latest from an ongoing study of
 cardiovascular disease that began in 1965 and initially involved
 more than 8,000 Japanese-American men living in Hawaii.
           Fewer than half the participants of the Honolulu Heart Program
 are still living. The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, begun in 1991, is
 a part of the program that deals with dementia.
           Researchers compared the dietary preferences of 68 study
 participants who had developed dementia as a result of a stroke
 with the preferences of 106 participants who had had a stroke but
 were not suffering from dementia, and 3,335 participants who had
 had neither a stroke nor dementia.
           They found that those who preferred a Western diet _ higher in
 animal fat and protein and lower in complex carbohydrates than a
 traditional Asian diet _ were roughly 57 percent less likely to
 develop dementia after a stroke. They also found a lower incidence
 of stroke-related dementia in people who took vitamin E
           Study participants, born between 1900 and 1919, answered
 questions about their food preferences when the study began in
           ``This shouldn't be interpreted as advice to go and get in line
 at the Burger King or McDonald's,'' said Dr. G. Webster Ross,
 co-principal investigator of the aging study and a neurologist with
 the Honolulu VA Medical Center.
           He said the study did not determine exactly what foods and
 nutrients in the Western diet may be most important in preventing
 dementia after a stroke. Future research will attempt to do that,
 he said.
           But Ross said studies in animals suggest that higher amounts of
 animal fat and protein in the diet may contribute to better
 stability of blood vessel walls in the brain.
           Stroke-related, or vascular, dementia is the nation's
 second-leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, which
 afflicts about 4 million people in the United States. An estimated
 1 million to 2 million people in the United States suffer from
 vascular dementia, a deterioration of emotional and cognitive
 abilities that can affect memory, language, reasoning and
 personality traits.
           Dr. Helen Petrovitch, co-principal investigator of the Honolulu
 aging study, said the study accounted for previously known factors
 related to dementia such as age and education.
           The highest prevalence of dementia was found in the oldest study
 participants. The study also found that controlling hypertension,
 diabetes and other risk factors could help prevent strokes and
 vascular dementia.
           Ross said that by studying the same group of first- and
 second-generation Japanese-Americans over three decades,
 researchers have been able to compare environmental and cultural
 differences between the United States and Japan while keeping
 genetic factors constant.
           Dr. James Mortimer, director of the Institute on Aging at the
 University of South Florida in Tampa, called the Honolulu findings
 ``very interesting.''
           ``As far as I know it's the first time that anyone has looked at
 the issue this way. People have looked at diet and stroke, but no
 one has looked at diet and (stroke-related) dementia,'' he said.
           Mortimer said the findings may be related to the fact that the
 relatively high-salt Japanese diet is associated with an increased
 stroke risk. High salt consumption is related to hypertension, a
 common factor in strokes.
           University of South Florida epidemiology professor Amy
 Borenstein Graves, who is married to Mortimer, said the study adds
 an intriguing twist to her own finding that the general Japanese
 lifestyle is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. She
 said she hasn't studied the impact of diet, specifically.
           Borenstein Graves has collaborated with the Honolulu-Asia Aging
 Study as co-principal investigator of the Ni-Hon-Sea Project, a
 broader dementia research effort involving Japanese and
 Japanese-American populations in Seattle, Honolulu and Hiroshima,
           ``This is an exciting study because it's one of several new
 studies showing an association between dementia and Japanese
 lifestyle,'' Borenstein Graves said.
           But she said until more is known, people with low-fat diets
 should not eat more fat based on the findings because they could
 increase their risk of heart disease.

 Additional note from reposter:

   Monosaturated and omega-3 fats have also been linked to a reduced 
 risk of cognitive decline.

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