The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Using diet to modulate Alzheimer’s disease

    Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle, compared the effects of a high–saturated fat/high–glycemic index diet with a low–saturated fat/low–glycemic index diet on markers of Alzheimer disease and cognition in adults with mild cognitive impairment.

    First, the details.

    • 49 older adults (20 healthy and 29 with amnestic mild cognitive impairment) were assigned to a treatment group for 4 weeks.
      • HIGH diet (fat, 45% [saturated fat, less than 25%]; carbohydrates, 35% – 40% [glycemic index, greater than 70]; and protein, 15% – 20%)
      • LOW diet (fat, 25%; [saturated fat, less 7%]; carbohydrates, 55% – 60% [glycemic index, less than 55]; and protein, 15% – 20%)
    • Cognitive tests, an oral glucose tolerance test, and lumbar puncture were conducted at before and during the fourth week of the diet.
    • Cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of beta-amyloid (Abeta42 and Abeta40), tau protein, insulin, F2-isoprostanes, and apolipoprotein E, plasma lipids and insulin, and measures of cognition were measured.

    And, the results.

    • For the group with amnestic mild cognitive impairment:
      • The LOW diet increased CSF Abeta42 concentrations, contrary to lowered CSF Abeta42 typically observed in Alzheimer disease.
    • In healthy adults:
      • The LOW diet decreased CSF Abeta42.
      • The HIGH diet increased CSF Abeta42.
    • CSF apolipoprotein E concentration:
      • Increased by the LOW diet and decreased by the HIGH diet for both groups.
    • More results
      • The CSF insulin concentration increased with the LOW diet in the amnestic mild cognitive impairment group.
      • The HIGH diet lowered the CSF insulin concentration for healthy adults.
      • The HIGH diet increased and the LOW diet decreased plasma lipids, insulin, and CSF F2-isoprostane (marker for oxidative stress) concentrations.
      • Delayed visual memory improved for both groups after completing 4 weeks of the LOW diet.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Diet may be a powerful environmental factor that modulates Alzheimer disease risk through its effects on central nervous system concentrations of Abeta42, lipoproteins, oxidative stress, and insulin.

    More about Abeta42 is here.

    6/17/11 22:24 JR

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