According to a recent study, changing your eating habits could have a beneficial effect in countering Alzheimer’s disease. A diet in particular would be very helpful. Which ? Find out quickly!
Among all its harms, Alzheimer’s disease disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, the internal biological clock, which regulates many of our physiological processes. Thus, nearly 80% of patients suffer from a disturbed rhythm, which induces difficulty sleeping and deterioration of cognitive functions at night. Unfortunately, no treatment to date targets this aspect of the disease. But a new study by researchers in San Diego has shown in mice that it is possible to correct the circadian disturbances observed in Alzheimer’s disease… thanks to a time-restricted diet.
Intermittent fasting leads to cognitive improvement
The researchers tested this strategy on mice (used as a model of Alzheimer’s disease) by feeding them on a time-restricted schedule based on intermittent fasting: they were only allowed to eat for a window of six hours each day (equivalent to 14 hours of fasting per day for a human!).
Many benefits were thus observed in mice fed following the fast, compared to control mice who received food at all hours:
- Better memory;
- Less hyperactivity at night;
- More regular and less disturbed sleep;
- Better results on cognitive assessments.
The researchers also observed improvements at the molecular level. In mice fed on a restricted schedule, the researchers found that several genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease and neuroinflammation were expressed differently.
They also found that the diet program helped reduce the amount of amyloid protein built up in the brain, which is one of the most well-known hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Disruption of the circadian rhythm and Alzheimer’s disease: dangerous liaisons?
These results also give rise to a new theory in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease:
“For many years we assumed that the circadian disruptions seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease were the result of neurodegeneration, but we are now learning that it could be the other way around: the circadian disruptions could be the result of neurodegeneration. one of the main drivers of Alzheimer’s disease” said the study’s lead author, Paula Desplats, “This makes circadian disruptions a promising target for new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and our results provide proof of concept for a simple and accessible way to correct these disruptions.”
Although these results have not yet been confirmed in humans, they give real hope.
“Time-restricted feeding is a strategy that people can easily and immediately incorporate into their lives. If we can replicate our findings in humans, this approach could be a simple way to dramatically improve the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and those who care for it” conclude the authors.
Real hope as an editorial published in JAMA on July 31 calls into question the real impact of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.