The blog by Dr. Morris on “I eat, therefore I am a nutrition expert” highlights the importance and need of trained experts in nutrition and nutritional epidemiology in order to advance in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases.
In recent years, there have been important advances in Alzheimer's disease at the pre-clinical level. Unfortunately, these advances have not been reflected at the clinical level, where no effective drug in slowing the disease progression has yet been discovered. Likewise, in the past two decades, it has been suggested that Alzheimer's disease should be addressed from a metabolic perspective. This implies that obesity, exercise, and nutrition could be positive or negative contributors to the disease evolution. Following this line of thought, several studies have discussed the neuroprotective effects of some nutrients and dietary components such as vitamin E, green leafy vegetables, and other vitamins . Moreover, some of these nutrients are necessary for an adequate physiological functioning of the brain and for neuronal protection, especially against oxidative stress.
In spite of this, many nutritional research studies have shown inconsistent results, suggesting that these interventions are not adequate for neurodegenerative diseases prevention. These undesirable results may be reinforced by the lack of nutrition experts in neuroscience clinical trials. A good example of a successful collaboration and a multidisciplinary research team is the PREDIMED study. This randomized diet-intervention trial conducted in Spain evaluates the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the human health and brain aging . The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) evaluates the effect of diet against many cardiovascular risk factors, some of which also related with cognitive decline, in randomized clinical trials in the United States . These research studies constitute appropriate strategies, uniting different areas of research with nutrition experts, in order to reach a cognitive improvement, which is essential in Alzheimer's disease.
Antoni Camins, Unitat de Farmacologia i Farmacognòsia, Institut de Neurociencias, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Jordi Olloquequi, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Talca, Chile
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