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Diet counts: Iron intake in teen years can impact brain in later life
Date:1/12/2012

evels and brain structure.

One of the genetic links a specific variation in a gene called HFE, which is known to influence blood transferrin levels was associated with reduced brain-fiber integrity, although subjects carrying this gene variant did not yet show any symptoms of disease or cognitive impairment.

"So this is one of the deep secrets of the brain," Thompson said. "You wouldn't think the iron in our diet would affect the brain so much in our teen years. But it turns out that it matters very much. Because myelin speeds your brain's communications, and iron is vital for making myelin, poor iron levels in childhood erode your brain reserves which you need later in life to protect against aging and Alzheimer's.

"This is remarkable, as we were not studying iron deficient people, just around 600 normal healthy people. It underscores the need for a balanced diet in the teenage years, when your brain's command center is still actively maturing. "

The findings, he said, may aid future studies of how iron transport affects brain function, development and the risk of neurodegeneration.


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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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