Dementia: Dr Sara on benefits of being in nature
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Brain diseases like dementia induce cognitive deficits beyond what can be expected from old age. Among the harshest neurodegenerative diseases is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is known to cause a rapid deterioration of cognitive health. Five types of meat are believed to significantly increase the risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, according to research.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association: “Prion diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, occur when prion protein, which is found throughout the body but whose normal function isn’t yet known, begins folding into an abnormal three-dimensional shape.
“This shape change gradually triggers prion protein in the brain to fold into the same abnormal shape.
“Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease causes a type of dementia that gets worse usually fast.
“Most common causes of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia, typically progress more slowly.”
READ MORE: Lewy body dementia signs: People may ‘switch off’ and ‘become silent’ for several minutes
One major cause of acquired Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is exposure to meat from cattle infected with bovine encephalopathy – or “mad cow disease”, but other types of meat have been linked to the condition too.
In fact, five cuts of meat could “significantly increase the risk” of the disease, according to one study.
Research published in the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research underscored the damaging effect of several canned meat for the brain in 2014.
Speaking of their findings, the authors noted: “Using control self-responses, consumption of hot dogs, sausage, pepperoni, kielbasa, ‘other’ canned meat, poultry liver, any stomach/intestine, beef stomach/intestine, any organ tissue, and beef organ tissue was individually associated with increased Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease risk.”
Elsewhere in the paper, the scientists added that a “greater consumption of hot dogs, bologna, salami, sausage pepperoni and kielbasa, was associated with a significantly higher risk.”
What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
There are several types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease recognised medically, but the disease can generally be broken down into three forms.
Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which generally develops spontaneously, typically accounts for 85 percent of cases.
Familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, on the other hand, typically occurs in individuals who inherit genetic changes from their parents.
The third recognised form of the disease is referred to as acquired Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which can be caused through exposure to external sources such as meat.
As with most other types of dementia, symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease encompass depression, agitation, apathy and mood swings.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease also causes rapidly worsening confusion, muscle stiffness, twitches and involuntary jerky movements.
“Rapid symptom progression is one of the most important clues that a person may have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,” notes the Alzheimer’s organisation.
There is currently no proven cure for dementia, but ongoing research is helping pinpoint novel ways to ward off the disease.
Diet, as shown above, holds a great influence on the risk of brain disease, so opting for healthy foods is strongly recommended.
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