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Research Grants - 2011


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Research Grants 2011


To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.

2011 Grants - Ravona-Springer

Dietary Factors, Inflammation and Cognitive Decline in Diabetic Elderly

Ramit Ravona-Springer, M.D.
Sheba Medical Center
Ramat Gan, Israel

2011 New Investigator Research Grant

Many people who develop Alzheimer's disease also have Type 2 diabetes, and scientists are conducting numerous studies to understand the pathological links between these two disorders. One such study is a long-term effort called "Inflammation, Long-term Diabetes Characteristics and Cognitive Decline," or the "Parent Study." Its researchers have been analyzing a large group of elderly participants in Israel to assess how cognitive decline is associated with brain inflammation and other characteristics of diabetes.

Ramit Ravona-Springer, M.D., and colleagues will be undertaking this research as an extension of the Parent Study. Their effort will focus on how dietary factors can affect two common features of both Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's — inflammation and a variant form of haptoglobin protein. This variant protein, unlike the normal form of haptoglobin, fails to protect the brain from oxidative stress, or damage to brain cells caused by toxic oxygen molecules.

Dr. Ravona-Springer and colleagues will examine how vitamin E, or tocopherol, may protect the brain from oxidative stress and cognitive decline. The researchers will study the potential therapeutic qualities of different forms of vitamin E and assess whether certain types of diabetic individuals will benefit more than others from the vitamin. Preliminary research suggests, for example, that diabetics with variant haptoglobin benefit from the "alpha" form of tocopherol, a powerful anti-oxidant. The researchers will also study whether reducing fat in the diet may protect diabetic individuals from experiencing cognitive decline. Earlier findings suggest that dietary fat reductions may promote cognitive health through preventing brain inflammation. Collectively, these research efforts could lead to therapeutic drug strategies for both diabetes and dementia.