UK & World News
Alzheimer's Link To Barbecues And Fry-Ups
Barbecued meat and the traditional British fry-up could speed up the process of dementia, according to a study.
Researchers claim chemicals produced when browning meat suppress a protective anti-ageing enzyme.
Fatty and sugary foods could also be playing a part by boosting levels of these harmful compounds - known as advanced glycation end-products (Ages).
The compounds can also be derived from cheese, eggs, white bread, pasta, and sugary treats such as pastries, cakes and biscuits.
Professor Derek Hill, from University College London, said: "There is a great deal of public interest in the way that diet can cause, or prevent, serious diseases in older life.
"Some of the proposed 'bad guys' in the diet are Ages, which are present in especially high quantities in meat that is cooked by frying or grilling."
Researchers writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences fed mice Ages at typical Western diet levels and tracked their brain health.
Unlike animals not given a high-Age diet, they were found to have low levels of Sirt1 in their blood and brain tissue - this has been linked to age-related brain diseases in previous research.
They also accumulated deposits of amyloid-beta protein in their brains, a sign of Alzheimer's.
The mice also displayed signs of mental impairment.
A follow-up study of 93 human volunteers aged 60 and over found that, like the mice, people with high amounts of Age compounds in their blood also lacked Sirt1.
The scientists, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, wrote: "Given the major public health potential of these findings, larger clinical trials are warranted."
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.