"Conditions that are generally considered good can be harmful if the mouse is a carrier of the APOE4 gene. Extrapolating this to the human population, individuals with the bad APOE4 gene are more susceptible to stress caused by an environment that stimulates their brain," says Prof. Michaelson.
Recently he expanded his original findings, first published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2008, with a new element: diet.
APOE is a lipoprotein and known to be influenced by the good oil found in fish. Prof. Michaelson and his European colleagues, under a joint European Commission grant called LIPIDIDIET, constructed an experiment. In a standardized environment, they introduced three different kinds of diet: a normal diet, a "bad" diet high in cholesterol, and a "good" diet high in fish oil.
When it's good, it's good
"The main take-away message here is that good diets can alleviate the effects of bad genes. Of course nutritionists have had this general idea for a while, but it's nice to be able to show that this approach can be applied to specifically counteract the negative effects of Alzheimer's disease-related genes," says Prof. Michaelson.
The results with more details will be presented at an international conference in Barcelona, Spain this March.
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University