Scientists tend to describe their research and findings with facts and figures only, leaving out any emotion. But Prof. Daniel Michaelson of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Neurobiology has uncovered something so potentially groundbreaking he called it “exhilarating” in a statement to the press.
What news could have this scientist so excited? A diet high in omega-3s, the fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon as well as walnuts, appears to significant block the negative effects of the APOE4 gene — the “bad” APOE gene found in 50% of all Alzheimer’s patients and in about 15% of the population. Having the APOE4 gene greatly ups your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, a dreaded and deadly form of dementia affecting about five million Americans.
Scientists have found that in all there are five molecules known to affect or cause Alzheimer’s. But just how dangerous these molecules are is linked to environmental factors including diet and lifestyle.
One of these five molecules, APOE, is created by the apolipoprotein E. gene found in all of our bodies. But, according to Prof. Michaelson, there is a
“good” APOE gene and a “bad” APOE gene, which is dubbed APOE4.
He has used animal studies to investigate the effects of diet and environment on carriers of APOE4. So far, his results show a diet high in omega-3 oils and low in cholesterol significantly reduce the negative effects of the Alzheimer’s causing APOE4 gene in mouse models.
“The main take-away message here is that good diets can alleviate the effects of bad genes. Of course nutritionists have had this general idea for a while, but it’s nice to be able to show that this approach can be applied to specifically counteract the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease-related genes,” Prof. Michaelson said in a statement to the media.
As previously reported, other researchers have found many natural ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, including drinking green tea (Daily green tea consumption found to slash dementia risk by up to 86%). Walking regularly and briskly for exercise has also been shown to lower the risk for dementia (Five things you can do to guard against Alzheimers).
The results of Prof. Mchaelson’s discoveries with more details are slated to be presented at an international conference in Barcelona, Spain this March.
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