The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it. ... In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Low-energy diets render motor neurons vulnerable to degeneration

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This paper is a bit old but I am posting it to keep it in focus for a discussion.   Please notice that low fat vegan diets often tend to be "low energy"!

Mattson MP, Cutler RG, Camandola S. Energy intake and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neuromolecular Med. 2007;9(1):17-20

Abstract

Roy Walford, a physician and scientist who pioneered research on the anti-aging effects of caloric restriction and subjected himself to a low-energy diet, recently died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Information from his case, epidemiological findings, and recent controlled studies in mouse models of ALS suggest that low-energy diets might render motor neurons vulnerable to degeneration, whereas high-energy diets are ameliorative. This contrasts with the effects of low-energy diets on various neuronal populations in the brain that respond adaptively, activating pathways that promote plasticity and resistance to disease. One reason that motor neurons might be selectively vulnerable to low-energy diets is that they are unable to engage neuroprotective responses to energetic stress response involving the protein chaperones, such as, heat-shock protein-70 [*].


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*) In addition to that, ketone bodies (often very low on low-energy diets) would have been protective against neural damage caused by the stress response, see:
Ketone bodies protect neurons from stress hormone-induced damage

------- added 28/01 -------------------

This video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-PzhyTlODc illustrates what kind of diet did Dr. Walford followed for about 10 years before his death (see around 7m into video). 



3 comments :

john said...

Hmm, I wish I could see the full text to look at their references. Obviously, just looking at "energy" doesn't tell us much about a diet. Walford believed strongly in the magic of vegetables and avoided animal fat.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Probably. Also, the Biosphere fiasco shows that his biological modelling wasn't accurate at all. He or his team were off by a huge factor, miscalculating CO2/O2 balance among many other things.

Stan (Heretic) said...

What that video appears to suggest is that his super "healthy" vegetable-based diet didn't seem to help him at all. He appeared distinctively frail and sick on his videos, even though he wasn't that old, dying at 79. I suspect that was _because_ of his diet not in-spite of it. He seemed to have been really dedicated to it and 100% compliant to eating close to 3 plates full of vegetable salads a day. It is interesting to note that one such huge salad plate shown on the video contained only about 500kcal. He must have consumed at least 3 such meals a day if not more.

Could his health been compromised and his death from ALS hastened by phytotoxins from eating huge amounts of green vegetables? I would seriously consider that a possibility!