Low salt diet keeps dementia away, finds new study

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Low salt diet keeps dementia away, finds new study
Low salt diet keeps dementia away, finds new study

New Delhi : A new study has found that consuming low salt diets and maintaining the healthy blood vessels in your brain can keep you away from problems like dementia. The study was based on the years of research done by Dr. Faraco and senior author Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Published last year in 'Nature Neuroscience', the study showed negative results on the mind of mice who was feeded high salt intake. The rodents became unable to complete daily living tasks such as building their nests and had problems passing memory tests.

The scientists explained that the high salt intake by the mice was causing cells in the small intestine to release the molecule interleukin-17 (IL-17), which promotes inflammation as part of the body's immune response. IL-17 then entered the bloodstream and prevented the cells in the walls of blood vessels feeding the brain from producing nitric oxide.

Nitric Oxide is one of the prime compounds that work in relaxing and widening the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow. 

Based on these findings, Dr. Iadecola, Dr. Faraco and their colleagues theorised that salt likely caused dementia in mice because it contributed to restricted blood flow to the brain, essentially starving it.

In their new - Nature - study, the investigators found that decreased nitric oxide production in blood vessels affects the stability of tau proteins in neurons.

Tau provides structure for the scaffolding of neurons. This scaffolding, also called the cytoskeleton, helps to transport materials and nutrients across neurons to support their function and health. Once tau detaches from the cytoskeleton, the protein can accumulate in the brain, causing cognitive problems. 

The researchers determined that healthy levels of nitric oxide keep tau in check.