02 Feb
High-Salt Diet Contributes to Dementia in Mice High-Salt Diet Contributes to Dementia in Mice

High-Salt Diet Contributes to Dementia in Mice

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Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine recently published findings of a study designed to determine the effects of a high-salt diet on the brains of laboratory mice -- or, more technically, the connections between "high dietary salt intake [and] neurovascular and cognitive impairment."

The study's senior author, Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine, said in a press release, “We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise. This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.”

The release goes on to note that roughly 90 percent of American adults have a daily sodium intake greater than the 2,300 mg that is recommended.

The rats were provided with a diet that included anywhere from 8 to 16 times the amount of salt they'd normally consume; this amount, though, compared equitably with the higher amounts of salt consumed by humans. Eight weeks later, the researchers subjected the mice to MRI exams, which revealed a 28 percent decrease in resting cerebral blood flow in the cortex and a 25 percent reduction in the hippocampus -- two areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

When the sodium levels were reduced in some of the mice for four weeks, researchers discovered that endothelial function and cerebral blood flow went back to normal.

Further experiments involved treating the mice with a drug that seemed to "counteract the cerebrovascular and cognitive effects of a high-salt diet," possibly benefitting people with inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases.

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Read 2907 times Last modified on Friday, 19 January 2018 04:09
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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