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Improves gene expression in the brain region associated with body control
Also boosts sleep quality and heart health, which are linked to
Lifestyle changes could delay Huntington’s, a form of dementia, progression
Findings could improve quality of life for patients with such incurable diseases
Huntington’s disease affects 30,000 people in the US and 6,700 in the UK
Eating at the same time every day may help combat dementia, new research reveals.
Regular meals improve gene expression in the region of the brain associated with body control, which often degenerates in Huntington’s disease (HD); a form of dementia, a study found.
Such eating habits also boost sleep quality and heart health, which are both related to HD, in mice with the condition, the research adds.
Researchers believe the findings will also apply to humans and may improve the quality of life for patients with such incurable diseases.
Study author Professor Christopher Colwell, from The University of California, LA, said: ‘HD is a genetically caused disease with no known cure. Lifestyle changes that not only improve the quality of life but also Delay Disease Progression for HD patients are greatly needed.’
HD affects nearly 30,000 people in the US and at least 6,700 in the UK.
WHAT IS HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE?
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a rare, inherited disorder that causes sufferers to experience behavioral disturbances, mental deterioration and uncontrollable movements.
It occurs due to the breakdown of cells in one region of the brain, known as the striatum.
Symptoms typically occur in middle age, with around 90 percent of patients suffering jerky, involuntary movements.
They may also experience depression, irritability and anxiety.
HD has no cure.
The average life expectancy following diagnosis is between 10 and 30 years.
How the research was carried out
The researchers restricted mice’s food availability in six-month-old animals genetically engineered to have a rodent form of HD.
One group of mice were only given food during a six-hour period when they were most active, which is at night as the animals are nocturnal.
The remainder ate whenever they liked. The quantity of food was the same between both groups.
Professor Colwell said: ‘In humans, the time of food availability would be during the day when food is normally consumed while the fast would be extended past the normal night.’
‘Feeding schedules play a role in the treatment of Huntington’s disease’
Results reveal regular meal plans improve gene expression in the region of the brain associated with body control, known as the striatum, which often degenerates in HD.
Such eating habits also improve diseased mice’s ability to run on a treadmill and balance on a beam, as well as assisting their heart rate, which is a sign of cardiovascular health.
Professor Colwell said: ‘After three months of treatment, when mice reached the early disease stage, they showed improvements in their locomotor activity rhythm and sleep awakening time.
‘Furthermore, we found improved heart rate variability, suggesting their nervous system dysfunction was improved.
‘Importantly, treated mice exhibited improved motor performance compared to untreated controls.
‘This data suggests feeding schedules could play a role in the treatment of HD and could lead to the development of new treatment options for neurodegenerative disorders.’
Lifestyle changes may improve quality of life
Professor Colwell added: ‘HD is a genetically caused disease with no known cure. Lifestyle changes that not only improve the quality of life but also delay disease progression for HD patients are greatly needed.
‘Lifestyle interventions have been suggested to be preventative and therapeutic for diseases associated with ageing, such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increasingly neurodegenerative disorders.
‘For example, caloric restriction has consistently been found to prolong life span and protect against a variety of pathological conditions.’
The findings were published in the journal eNeuro.
Source: Daily Mail
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