Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Already?

It has been a nutty week. And right now I'm cooking steak, and the 18 month old won't let me put her down. But a few things have caught my attention:

Epilepsy's Big, Fat Miracle

A New York Times article about a parent with a kid on a ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Makes ketogenic diets sound completely bonkers, yet effective. I suppose that is the story of my blog.

The 32-year relationship between cholesterol and dementia from midlife to late life

Okay, get this. In animal and cell culture studies, high cholesterol is associated with amyloid beta deposition. YET when one reviews the human studies, the ratio between cholesterol levels and amyloid deposition becomes far more murky (declining cholesterol levels as we age is a risk factor). Also, high dietary cholesterol in RABBITS and genetically modified mice leads to greater amyloid pathology relative to controls!!! Should I eat the top round steak being simmered in grassfed ghee right now? Should I?

Well, high cholesterol in women who had high cholesterol in 1968-69 was not associated with risk of dementia up to 32 years later. Also, a decrease in cholesterol levels over the follow up period (of 32 years) was associated with an increased risk of dementia.

Here's a money quote from the study: "Thus, the unintended decreases in cholesterol levels (e.g. not via medications or cholesterol-lowering diet) greater than expected due to aging may be more indicative of dementia risk than midlife cholesterol levels and may reflect underlying dementia processes. This pattern is observed for other dementia risk factors, such as BMI and blood pressure...consequences of the dementia prodrome such as apathy or reduced olfactory function may lead to decreased energy intake, which may also affect blood cholesterol levels."

Or, just maybe, cholesterol levels are a biomarker of some other process, so following just cholesterol levels leads to confusing and contradictory information regarding dementia risk, and absolutely low cholesterol is usually bad news when it comes to the (human) brain.

It's exhausting, really, slaying the remnants of the lipid hypothesis in 2010.

Dear Conventional Wisdom Nutritional Information Purveyors: I know that allowing fat into the diet makes a big juicy steak that much less naughty. But you don't have to be naughty to have fun!! You can just enjoy a big juicy steak.



  1. (Yes, I believe everything is due to Victorian England and the reactionary 1950s)

  2. Yeah, that nytimes piece on the keto diet was strangely enjoyable. All the weighing and measuring would drive me nuts, but I don't worry that I'm going to poison myself with all the fat I eat. :-)

  3. I was drooling reading that... Eat the juicy steak and report back....EAT IT!

    BTW - Nice piece of multi-tasking... cooking a steak, whilst holding child, whilst writing a superb blog!

  4. Just what I was thinking too Jamie, I'm astounded Emily at what you do. I'm terrible at multi-tasking and my children take a lot of time and emotional energy. (At least mine do - but they do have some somewhat challenging post-institutional issues from 3 years in a Russian orphanage), and I only work part time.
    By the way I agree - your blog is excellent.


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