Could cooking meat be a dementia risk?

By Efrosini Costa

Could cooking meat be a dementia risk?
New research has us asking if the chemicals released when browning meat could increase our risk of dementia.

Grilling, frying, baking or barbecuing, if your not a vegan or vegetarian chances are you consume meat cooked in these ways a few times a week.

While the cooking process can produce some very tasty meat morsels, scientists are worried that consumption of cooked meat could be harming our brains.

That’s because, during the cooking process, certain proteins or facts react with sugars, as meat browns.

The result is the formation of Advanced glycation end (AGE) by products which have been previously linked to disease like type-2 diabetes.

Researchers from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York tested the effect of AGE’s on mice and people.

The findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that mice fed a high-AGE diet had a build up of these dangerous proteins in the brain which impaired their cognitive function.

AGE build up in the brain also lead to a build up of defective beta amyloid proteins which are a hallmark indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

The test mice were found to perform less well in thinking and physical tasks after consuming their AGE-rich diet.

A shorter analysis of people over the age of 60 also suggested that a high level of AGEs in the blood was linked to cognitive decline.

“We report that age-related dementia may be causally linked to high levels of food advanced glycation end products,” the study’s authors concluded.

“Importantly, reduction of food-derived AGEs is feasible and may provide an effective treatment strategy,” they added.

While the results were compelling they do not provide definitive answers about their links to degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimers disease and dementia.

But, as cures for these diseases remain a distant hope, such studies and research is important to our understanding of preventative measures that could help stave off such illness.


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