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Study suggests link between Alzheimer's disease and diet

Study suggests link between diet, alzheimer's

Older adults appear to be at lower risk for Alzheimer's disease if they eat a diet rich in fish, poultry, fruit, nuts, dark leafy greens, vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and oil-and-vinegar dressing, a new study has found. Among older people whose diet included the most of these foods, the risk for Alzheimer's was more than one-third lower over the course of four years than among those who ate the least such foods and more high-fat dairy products, butter, red meat and organ meat. The food combination associated with lower risk is low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients like folate, vitamin E and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The paper, published online in Archives of Neurology, reported on findings in 2,148 older adults (average age 77) living in northern Manhattan, none of whom had dementia at the beginning of the study period. Four years later, 253 had developed Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, the paper's senior author and an assistant professor of neurology at the Taub Institute at Columbia University, acknowledged that the study "does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between eating this diet and having a reduced risk of developing the disease." But he added, "We know these foods have been associated with beneficial outcomes for other medical diseases."

Breast-feeding numbers lacking

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding exclusively for the first six months of life and continued nursing for a year, but a national survey has found that less than 75 percent of women breast-feed at all, and by one year only about a fifth are still nursing their babies. Breast-feeding practices vary widely across race and ethnicity, according to the study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 80 percent of Hispanics and Asians begin breast-feeding, but only 74 percent of whites and 54 percent of non-Hispanic blacks do so. And just two-thirds of those with a high school diploma breast-fed their infants, while three-quarters of those with some college did so. Among college graduates, the rate was more than 85 percent. Breast-feeding is a key public health goal; a recent study in Pediatrics concluded that if 90 percent of mothers breast-fed exclusively for at least six months, the nation would save $13 billion in medical costs and prevent 911 deaths annually.

Drinking can boost allergy symptoms

Sniffling, sneezing and struggling through allergy season? You may want to lay off booze for a while. Studies have found that alcohol can cause or worsen the common symptoms of asthma and hay fever, like sneezing, itching, headaches and coughing. Beer, wine and liquor contain histamine, the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms. Wine and beer also contain sulfites, another group of compounds known to provoke asthma and other allergylike symptoms. In a 2005 study, scientists looked at thousands of people and found that compared with the general population, those with diagnoses of asthma, bronchitis and hay fever were far more likely to experience sneezing, a runny nose and "lower-airway symptoms" after having a drink. Red and white wine were the most frequent triggers, and women were about twice as likely to be affected as men.

New York Times

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Study suggests link between Alzheimer's disease and diet 04/21/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 5:48pm]

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