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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that causes dementia and ultimately death. Currently, there is no treatment available for this disease. The aging of the population will only increase the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, making it ever more important to find an effective method of prevention. Dietary intervention is a practical and affordable method of intervention. The brain is a fat rich organ, and dietary fats are critical for proper development of the brain. A literature review was conducted to determine whether there is a link between saturated fat intake and Alzheimer’s disease. According to the literature reviewed, saturated fat increases the amount of amyloid beta in circulation, and is linked to blood brain barrier dysfunction. Consistent with this, high saturated fat diets lead to cognitive decline in animals. Epidemiologic studies have yielded conflicting results, but most studies show a link between increased intake of saturated fat and increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Lipid lowering agents and anti-inflammatory drugs have been found to attenuate the effect of a high saturated fat diet in animals. An examination of medical records has also shown that patients who had been prescribed statins were less likely to be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. The literature reviewed indicates that lowering intake of saturated fat as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. There is also evidence that lipid lowering agents and anti-inflammatory drugs may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

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