ScienceDaily (Sep. 11, 2007) — A Mediterranean diet may help people with Alzheimer's disease live longer than patients who eat a more traditional Western diet.
The study followed 192 people with Alzheimer's disease in New York for an average of four and a half years. During that time, 85 of the people died. Researchers found that those who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 76 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who followed the diet the least.
"The more closely people followed the Mediterranean diet, the more they reduced their mortality," said study author Nikos Scarmeas, MD, MSc, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. "For example, Alzheimer's patients who adhered to the diet to a moderate degree lived an average 1.3 years longer than those people who least adhered to the diet. And those Alzheimer's patients who followed the diet very religiously lived an average four years longer."
Previous research by Scarmeas and his colleagues demonstrated that healthy people who eat a Mediterranean diet lower their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Studies have also shown that healthy people who follow a Mediterranean diet live longer than those who eat a more traditional Western diet, higher in saturated fat and meats and lower in fruits and vegetables.
"New benefits of this diet keep coming out," said Scarmeas. "We need to do more research to determine whether eating a Mediterranean diet also helps Alzheimer's patients have slower rates of cognitive decline, maintain their daily living skills, and have a better quality of life."
The Mediterranean diet includes a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, fish, monounsaturated fatty acids; a low intake of saturated fatty acids, dairy products, meat and poultry; and a mild to moderate amount of alcohol.
The study is published in the September 11, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University.
Mon Aug 20, 2007
Credit: Reuters/Dario Pignatelli
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Eating foods prepared with olive oils that are rich in phenols, substances though to have beneficial effects on the heart, may help ward off harmful blood clots in people with high cholesterol, Spanish researchers report.
"Our findings provide new evidence of the healthy effects of virgin olive oil," Dr. Francisco Perez-Jimenez of Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba and colleagues conclude.
In the early stages of atherosclerosis, the balance between clot-promoting and clot-dissolving factors in the blood vessels shifts in favor of clot formation and having high levels of fat in the blood can worsen this imbalance, Perez-Jimenez and his team explain the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Olive oil contains phenols, which have been shown to fight clotting in lab tests, but few studies of their effects have been performed in humans, the researchers note.
To investigate, the researchers had 21 people with high cholesterol eat two different breakfasts. For one week, they consumed either white bread with virgin olive oil containing 400 parts per million phenols, or white bread with olive oil from which much of the phenols had been extracted, leaving it with 80 parts per million. Study participants were then switched to the opposite meal.
Two hours after the high-phenol meal, study participants' concentrations of factor
VII antigen, which promotes blood clotting, were lower compared with the low-phenol group. The high-phenol group also experienced a greater drop in the activity of another clot promoter, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1.
The researchers suggest that previous studies that have yielded inconsistent results regarding olive oil's effect on the blood may have been due to variations in phenol content.
"Although this study deals with the microcomponents of virgin olive oil, we should still think in terms of evaluating the biological properties of complete foods," the researches add.
With this in mind, they conclude that the current study supports the heart health benefits of virgin olive oil.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2007.