Poor diet and physical and mental inactivity, risks for Alzheimer’s: scientific
Fernando Camacho Servin
Newspaper La Jornada
Sunday, September 25, 2022, p. 8
The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is not only related to people’s own aging or possible genetic predisposition, but also to their eating habits and physical and mental activity, since it has been discovered that diets high in fat and sugar are a risk factor for this condition to arise.
This was warned by Clorinda Arias Álvarez, an academic from the UNAM Biomedical Research Institute, who pointed out that Mexico is one of the countries where a greater increase in this condition is expected in the future, so disease prevention policies must be designed. and awareness of what it means.
in chat with the day, the specialist in pathological brain aging indicated that in Mexico there are records of between 700,000 and one million people with Alzheimer’s. On a global scale, there are about 50 million, but it is estimated that in 2050 it could reach up to 150 million, many of them in middle-income countries, such as ours.
Arias stressed that, according to prospective studies in various countries, there are at least 12 risk factors that can facilitate the onset of the disease, which are preventable, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, social isolation and depression.
After highlighting that the risk of Alzheimer’s appearing could be reduced by up to 40 percent if these factors were addressed, the researcher emphasized that one of the findings of the team she coordinates is the role of diet in the onset of dementia.
“We’ve been focusing on how diets high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and refined sugars — like high fructose, which is in soda and a lot of this packaged food — can affect the brain, by changing the metabolism of neurons and produce damage similar to that seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients,” he said.
According to Aries,
when neurons are exposed to saturated fats, such as palmitic acid or cholesterol, changes occur in the so-called tau protein, which is affected in Alzheimer’s. This protein is phosphorylated (that is, it undergoes the addition of phosphate) in the brain of patients and neurofibrillary tangles are formed that end up killing neurons.
The onset of the disease “depends on how we age. It is certainly age related, but it appears to be an interaction between the natural changes of aging, a particular genetic environment, and an unhealthy lifestyle.
An aging person with poor cognitive stimulation, poor diet, and poor cardiovascular health is much more likely to develop Alzheimer’sstressed Arias, who recommended staying physically, mentally and socially active, having a healthier diet and disseminating information about the nature of this disease.