OSU logoAge is known to be a primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and there are high chances of more people facing a risk of dementia in times to come. Experts from Oregon State University are of the opinion that the nutritional approaches used for Alzheimer’s could be enhanced with the help of nutrient biomarkers. These should apparently aid in the objective assessment of older individuals facing a risk of dementia. There are ongoing analysis to find if these approaches could slow down or prevent the disease altogether.

The most conventional method includes self-reported dietary surveys. This mainly depends on people’s memory of what has been eaten. However, surveys of this type don’t take into account common problems of senior adults. This includes the impact of memory impairment on the ability to remember the diet and also digestive problems that could affect the way nutrients are absorbed.

“Dietary and nutritional studies have yielded some intriguing results, but they are inconsistent,” mentioned Emily Ho, an associate professor of nutrition at Oregon State University, co-author of the study, and principal investigator with OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute. “If we are going to determine with scientific accuracy whether one or another nutritional approach to preventing dementia may have value, we must have methods that accurately reflect the nutritional status of patients,” Ho said. “The gold standard to assess nutritional status should be biomarkers based on blood tests.”

Led by Dr. Gene Bowman, a nutrition and aging scientist at Oregon Health and Science University, in collaboration with OSU investigators, the study roped in 38 older volunteers. Among them half had documented memory deficit while the other half were cognitively strong. The reliability of the nutrient biomarkers was compared to food questionnaires governed twice over a period of a month. According to the investigators, the questionnaire enabled them to ascertain certain nutrient levels albeit only in the group that showed good memory. How reliable the nutrient biomarkers were was based on the particular nutrient. They nevertheless did perform well on an average.

“Now that we have a reliable blood test for assessing nutritional status, we can begin to study nutrient biomarkers in combination, their interactive features, and how they collectively may influence chronic diseases, including risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” Bowman further shares.

If the scientists involved are to be believed, then the methods of prevention for Alzheimer’s are now becoming more viable. This is mainly because scientists are starting to comprehend the kinds of populations that may be at a high risk of suffering from the condition. With approaches like the one used in this analysis, scientists may soon be able to come up with nutritional therapies that are more effective. In the long run, this may help in the overall propagation of cognitive health.

This finding has recently been published in Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders.