Sunday June 16, 2019

Cholesterol Can Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, Finds Research

In the case of Alzheimer's disease, the amyloid-beta molecules stick to the lipid cell membranes that contain cholesterol.

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

Cholesterol — a molecule normally linked with cardiovascular diseases — may also play an important role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have found.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, suggests that in the brain, cholesterol acts as a catalyst which triggers the formation of the toxic clusters of the amyloid-beta protein, which is a central player in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers found that cholesterol, which is one of the main components of cell walls in neurons, can trigger amyloid-beta molecules to aggregate, and their aggregation eventually leads to the formation of amyloid plaques, in a toxic chain reaction that leads to the death of brain cells.

“The levels of amyloid-beta normally found in the brain are about a thousand times lower than we require to observe it aggregating in the laboratory – so what happens in the brain to make it aggregate?” said lead author Michele Vendruscolo, Professor at Centre for Misfolding Diseases, in the University of Cambridge.

Cholesterol -- a molecule normally linked with cardiovascular diseases -- may also play an important role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, researchers have found.
Junk Food is highly rich in Cholesterol, pixabay

For the study, using a kinetic approach, the researchers found in vitro studies that the presence of cholesterol in cell membranes can act as a trigger for the aggregation of amyloid-beta.

Since amyloid-beta is normally present in such small quantities in the brain, the molecules don’t normally find each other and stick together. Amyloid-beta does attach itself to lipid molecules, however, which are sticky and insoluble, the researcher said.

In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, the amyloid-beta molecules stick to the lipid cell membranes that contain cholesterol.

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Once stuck close together on these cell membranes, the amyloid-beta molecules have a greater chance to come into contact with each other and start to aggregate – in fact, the researchers found that cholesterol speeds up the aggregation of amyloid-beta by a factor of 20.

“The question for us now is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but about how to control cholesterol’s role in Alzheimer’s disease through the regulation of its interaction with amyloid-beta,” Vendruscolo said.

“We’re not saying that cholesterol is the only trigger for the aggregation process, but it’s certainly one of them,” Vendruscolo added. (IANS)

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Study Finds Consuming Poultry as Bad as Red Meats for Cholesterol

Government dietary guidelines have encouraged consumption of poultry as a healthier alternative to red meat

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Poultry, Produce Industry
Over 80% of UTIs caused by E.coli is found in poultry. Pixabay

Turning conventional wisdom on its head, researchers have found that consuming red meat and white meat, like poultry, have equal effects on blood cholesterol levels.

The study indicated that restricting consumption of meat altogether, whether red or white, is more advisable for lowering blood cholesterol levels than previously thought.

The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that consumption of high amount of red meat or white poultry resulted in higher blood cholesterol levels than consuming a comparable amount of plant proteins.

Health workers in full protective gear collect dead chickens killed by using carbon dioxide at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. Authorities in Hong Kong have begun destroying 15,000 chickens at a poultry market and suspended imports from mainland China after bird flu was found in some birds. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung). VOA

“When we planned this study, we expected red meat to have more adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels than white meat. But we were surprised that this was not the case — their effects on cholesterol levels are identical when saturated fat levels are equivalent,” said the study lead author Ronald Krauss, Professor at University of California in the US.

The study did not include grass-fed beef or processed products like bacon or sausage; nor did it include fish. The study also found that plant proteins were the healthiest for blood cholesterol.

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Consumption of red meat has become unpopular during the last few decades over concerns about its association with increased heart disease. Government dietary guidelines have encouraged consumption of poultry as a healthier alternative to red meat.

But there had been no comprehensive comparison of the effects of red meat, white meat and non-meat proteins on blood cholesterol until now, Krauss said. Non-meat proteins like vegetables, dairy, and legumes such as beans, show the best cholesterol benefit, he said. (IANS)