Eating Cooked Meat Increases Odds Of Developing Alzheimer's Disease
February 25, 2014

Eating Cooked Meat Increases Odds Of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

[ Watch the Video: Could Cooked Meat Make You Lose Your Mind? ]

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

New research from scientists based in the United States and Italy has found that chemicals produced during the cooking of meat may increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study team said reducing exposure to these chemicals, called advanced glycation end (AGE) products, can lead to a lower risk for developing the cognitive disorder. AGEs, which are created when proteins or fats react with sugar at high temperatures during the Maillard reaction, have also been linked to Type-2 diabetes.

In the study, a group of mice was given food containing high levels of AGEs and a different group was given half the amount of the chemical in their diet.

While the amount of calories in their diet was the same, only the mice on the higher AGE diet experienced difficulties related to cognition and coordination as they aged. These mice also produced less of an anti-aging protein and their brains had elevated levels of beta-amyloid, a protein considered a primary biomarker of Alzheimer’s.

A series of trials on humans over 60 also indicated a link between significant levels of AGEs in the blood and cognitive decline over the course of months.

"We report that age-related dementia may be causally linked to high levels of food advanced glycation end products,” the study team wrote. "Importantly, reduction of food-derived AGEs is feasible and may provide an effective treatment strategy."

Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging sciences at University College London, told BBC News that the results of the new study were fairly “compelling.”

"Because cures for Alzheimer's disease remain a distant hope, efforts to prevent it are extremely important, but this study should be seen as encouraging further work, rather than as providing definitive answers,” Hill said.

"But it is grounds for optimism - this paper adds to the body of evidence suggesting that using preventative strategies might reduce the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in society and that could have very positive impact on us all,” he added.

Another recent study on Alzheimer’s disease found that a high dose of the antidepressant citalopram can considerably reduce agitation in patients with the cognitive disorder.

Agitation can be one of the most difficult signs and symptoms of the disease, and it also is one of the most frequently-given reasons Alzheimer’s patients are transitioned out of their homes and into a care facility.