How a high salt diet may lead to cognitive decline

New research suggests that a diet high in salt may promote cognitive decline by destabilizing levels of the protein tau. Excessive levels of tau are a hallmark of dementia.

Dr. Giuseppe Faraco, an assistant professor of research in neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, is the lead author of the new study, which appears in the journal Nature NeuroscienceTrusted Source.

As Dr. Faraco and team explain in their paper, an excessive intake of salt has always had associations with poor cerebrovascular function, and high salt intake is an independent, well established risk factor for dementia.

But the more intriguing question is, how does excessive salt trigger dementia?

Previous research in rodents led by Dr. Faraco — together with Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute and a co-author of the new study — started to elucidate this mechanism.

In the previous study, the researchers found that a diet high in sodium leads to dementia in mice by triggering the overproduction of a molecule that promotes inflammation.

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