Decreased blood flow to the brain tied to dementia

August 31, 2005

In this study researchers measured blood flow to the brain in three groups; people older than 75 with dementia, older people with good mental function, and young-healthy people. The total volume of brain damage assessed via MRI was greater in those with dementia. The volume of blood flowing to the brain was much lower in dementia patients averaging 443 ml/minute (or almost 15 ounces per minute), in older adults with optimal brain function the rate of blood flow to the brain was 551 ml/minute (or about 18.33 ounces per minute), and the rate of blood flow in younger -healthy subjects was 797 ml/minute (or about 26.5 ounces per minute). Poor blood flow to the brain and larger areas of damaged brain tissue both contribute to dementia in elderly subjects. The study is published in the September 2005 issue of the international journal Radiology.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

We recently reported a study where pomegranate polyphenols decreased thickening of the carotid artery intima- media thickening by up to 30% after one year in patients with carotid artery stenosis (narrowing) whereas the intima-media of the control group increased by 9% during the same time period. The study was published in the June 2004 issue of the journal Clinical Nutrition.

Increased rate of intestinal infections associated with enteral nutrition (tube feeding) can be prevented with FOS and fiber

The friendly flora (healthy bacteria important for digestion and controlling infection)) normally living in the intestines is very important during tube feeding because they inhibit the colonization (growth and spread) of dangerous bacteria and yeast. The friendly flora also create short chain fatty acids out of fiber in legumes (such as soy, flax, and wheat) and other vegetables that contribute to intestinal health, decrease the risk of inherited colon cancer, and supply energy for digestion and intestinal immunity. Healthy people were given either a standard enteral formula or one supplemented with FOS - a known food for friendly flora, and also the addition of supplemental fiber for 14 days in a randomized, double-blind, cross-over trial. The FOS-fiber supplemented group had a larger colony of healthy bifidobacteria in their intestines and less clostridia (clostridia bacteria are a known cause of hospital associated, severe intestinal infections that cause diarrhea [nosocomial infections]). The FOS/fiber supplemented enteral formula resulted in higher production of intestinal short chain fatty acids that promote good intestinal function. The study is published in the August 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the journal of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences.

Probiotic plus vitamin/mineral supplement reduces upper respiratory tract infection occurrence and symptoms

In a double-blind trial, 477 healthy men and women, who had not been vaccinated against influenza, were given either a placebo or a probiotic containing Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium bifidum in addition to 13 vitamins and 13 minerals commonly found in multi vitamin supplements. The subjects received their regimens for 3 months.

It was found that the occurrence of viral respiratory infections was 13.6% lower in the group that received the supplements compared to those who received the placebo. For those that received the supplements and acquired an infection, symptoms were reduced by an average of 19%. This group suffered half the amount of days spent with a fever than the number of days reported by the placebo group. Immune response as determined by white blood cells (particularly T- Lymphocytes) was significantly higher in the supplemented group than the placebo group.

The authors concluded that these results provide "evidence of the positive effects of long-term consumption of a dietary supplement containing probiotic bacteria plus vitamins and minerals on the symptoms of respiratory tract infections, particularly influenza symptoms, and the occurrence of fever in otherwise healthy adults." They attribute these benefits to stimulated cellular immunity. This study is published in the July 2005 issue of the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.