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Keto diet could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (Sep 21 is World Alzheimer’s day)

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Eating healthy, low calorie food could help fight the fungi in the gut and thus reduce the risk of dementia among senior citizens, doctors said, citing a new study done in the US that revealed that the diet has a direct connection with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings of the recent study by scientists at the Wake Forest School of Medicine are significant as health experts are looking at possible therapies to address the grave problem.

The Alzheimer’s Association, a global body for dementia, reported that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is witnessed among at least 15-20 per cent people aged over 65 years, which impacts the ability to think and can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

The new research suggests that ketogenic diet alters the bacterial communities in the human gut and helps reduce biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease among those suffering from MCI.

“In our conservative society, dementia often impacts social and family relations, including reduction in work hours, loss of employment, relationships ending, and even the need to relocate or change living arrangements arises. It is often noticed that such problems lead victims to becoming unwanted in the family and social setting. Possible solutions to prevent this problem are being researched for decades, and this new study provides a glimpse of hope,” said Dr Simanchal Mishra, Senior Consultant Neuro Physician, Medicover Hospitals.

There is now a possible preventive mechanism through which the risk of Alzheimer’s can be reduced to a great extent, and the suggested solution appears to be an easily manageable one, he added.

“Alzheimer’s is an irreversible dementia. There are many other causes of dementia which are preventable or reversible. Early diagnosis and treatment of dementia can help make the disease reversible. Literacy/ knowledge of the ailment is one of the most important factors in preventing Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr M.K. Singh, Senior Consultant Neurologist, Continental Hospitals.

“While quitting smoking and alcohol, eating healthy diet, exercising for at least 150 minutes a week are suggested as steps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, the new research reveals that lower calories food forces a human body to conserve energy, and this leads to drop in body temperature, and this too helps in preventing dementia. Additionally, reading, writing, learning new languages and/or musical instruments, maintaining an active social life are highly recommended to ensure Alzheimer’s is kept at bay,” he said.

Conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s among ageing population. Hence, in addition to leading an active life, cutting down on calories in food is surely a great way to stay happy and remember everything till the end of life.

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Study reveals kidney disease or injury is associated with much higher risk of mortality for COVID-19 patients

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Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found that there is much higher risk of mortality faced by COVID-19 patients in intensive care, who have chronic kidney disease (CKD), or those who develop new (acute) kidney injury (AKI).

CKD is a type of kidney disease in which kidney function declines over a period of months to years, and is more common in older people.

AKI is an abrupt loss of kidney function that takes place over seven days or less and can have several causes, including the damage and inflammation caused by the COVID-19 virus itself.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive analysis of outcomes in critically unwell COVID-19 patients in the UK with kidney failure, particularly in patients with pre-existing chronic kidney disease,” said study author Sanooj Soni from Imperial College London in the UK.

For the study, published in the journal Anaesthesia, the research team examined the association between AKI and CKD with clinical outcomes in 372 patients with COVID-19 admitted to four regional intensive care units (ICUs) in the UK.

The average age of the patients was around 60 years, and 72 percent of them were male.

A total of 216 (58 percent) patients had some form of kidney impairment (45 percent developed AKI during their ICU stay, while 13 percent had pre-existing CKD), while 42 percent had no CKD or AKI.

The patients who developed AKI had no history of serious kidney disease before their ICU admission, suggesting that the AKI was directly related to their COVID-19 infection.

The authors found that patients with no kidney injury or disease had a mortality of 21 percent.

Those with new-onset AKI caused by the COVID-19 virus had a mortality of 48 percent, whilst for those with pre-existing CKD (Stages 1-4) mortality was 50 percent.

In those patients with end-stage kidney failure (CKD stage 5), where they already required regular out-patient dialysis, mortality was 47 percent.

Mortality was greatest in those patients with kidney transplants, with six out of seven patients (86 percent) dying, highlighting that these patients are an extremely vulnerable group.

The investigators also examined the rates of renal replacement therapy, a form of hospital dialysis, due to COVID-19 in these ICU patients with kidney injury.

Out of 216 patients with any form of kidney impairment, 56 per cent of patients requiring renal replacement therapy, the researchers said.

The authors noted that mortality in patients with end-stage kidney failure and on dialysis, who normally have worse outcomes in many other diseases, was similar to that in patients with less severe kidney disease and Covid-19 associated AKI.

This finding may suggest that such patients benefit equally from ICU admission and thus the threshold for admission should be calibrated accordingly in any future COVID-19 surge.

“Our data demonstrate that kidney disease and failure in critically ill patients with COVID-19 are common, and associated with high mortality,” the authors noted.

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