Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeAlzheimer's & DementiaIntermittent Fasting May Reduce Cognitive Impairment from Vascular Dementia

Intermittent Fasting May Reduce Cognitive Impairment from Vascular Dementia

Blocked or reduced blood flow to the brain is the second-most common cause of dementia in humans.

A team of Chinese scientists used a rodent model to investigate whether intermittent fasting (IF) could help protect against cognitive impairment from vascular dementia.

As the name suggests, intermittent fasting (IF) describes a system of mixing periods of normal eating with periods of abstinence.

There are many different IF frameworks.

Partial-day fasts are those in which a person eats only during a specific time window each day.

Alternate day fasting is where a person chooses to eat whatever they want one day, and then nothing the next.

While there are several reasons people choose to eat this way, one common rationale is to help teach the body to use the food it consumes more efficiently and to burn fat as fuel when it is deprived of continuous caloric intake.

Interestingly, some of the mechanisms largely responsible for weight loss and diabetic control when fasting also seem to help protect brain cells and make them more resilient.

Preclinical studies in rodents suggest that long-term IF might also reduce cognitive deficits.

According to a study published in May 2017 in the Journal of Nutrition, a team of Chinese researchers used adult rats weighing at least 200g to investigate whether IF could protect against cognitive impairment from vascular dementia.

Two-thirds of the rats were allowed to eat on demand and one-third were put on an alternate-day fasting regimen.

Cognitive function was measured using novel object recognition tests to assess short-term memory and the Morris water maze test to assess spatial learning.

After 12 weeks, half of the eat-on-demand rats and all of the IF rats underwent an operation to surgically close two arteries, to reduce blood supply to the brain and model vascular dementia.

Following a brief recovery period, cognitive function was retested.

The rats were then euthanized so brain tissue could be collected and studied.

The research team found that IF prevented memory impairment, attenuated hippocampal neuronal apoptosis, and increased synaptic density.

In addition, examination of the brain tissue showed evidence that IF reduced inflammation and alleviated oxidative stress, thereby reducing the environmental toxicity in the hippocampi which can induce neural death and cognitive dysfunction.

While this study is promising, no human clinical studies have confirmed that IF (or even standard calorie restriction) promotes brain health or protects against dementia in healthy people.

Additionally, IF may be unsafe for certain people, including individuals who are underweight, diabetic, ill, or frail.

Written By: Debra A. Kellen, PhD

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News and Articles

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS

Stay Connected
10,288FansLike
820FollowersFollow
249FollowersFollow
2,787FollowersFollow

Article of the month

Recognizing HIE: A Call for Advocacy

Have you heard of HIE? It’s the second leading cause of infant mortality and lifelong disability worldwide. 2-3 per 1,000 live births in high-income...

Joke Of The Day – May 23

An old man came to the doctor complaining of a very strong pain in his leg. “I am afraid it’s just old age”, replied the...

ADVERTISE WITH US

error: Content is read-only and copy-protected.