CENTER ON BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE
Essential Nutrients-Cognition: Research Article
Gonzalez-Gross, M. Marcos, A., and Pietzik, K. (2001) Nutrition
and Cognitive Impairment in the
Journal of Nutrition, v. 86 (3), p. 313-21.
ABSTRACT: As the
number of older people is growing rapidly worldwide and the fact that
elderly people are also apparently living longer, dementia, the most
common cause of cognitive impairment is getting to be a greater public
health problem. Nutrition plays a role in the ageing process, but there
is still a lack of knowledge about nutrition-related risk factors in
cognitive impairment. Research in this area has been intensive during
the last decade, and results indicate that subclinical deficiency in
essential nutrients (antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and
beta-carotene, vitamin B[sub12], vitamin B[sub6], folate) and
nutrition-related disorders, as hypercholesterolaemia,
hypertriacylglycerolaemia, hypertension, and diabetes could be some of
the nutrition-related risk factors, which can be present for a long
time before cognitive impairment becomes evident. Large-scale clinical
trials in high-risk populations are needed to determine whether
lowering blood homocysteine levels reduces the risk of cognitive
impairment and may delay the clinical onset of dementia and perhaps of
Alzheimer's disease. A curative treatment of cognitive impairment,
especially Alzheimer's disease, is currently impossible. Actual drug
therapy, if started early enough, may slow down the progression of the
disease. Longitudinal studies are required in order to establish the
possible link of nutrient intake -- nutritional status with cognitive
impairment, and if it is possible, in fact, to inhibit or delay the
onset of dementia.
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