High Salt Diet Causes Cognitive Impairment in Mice, Weill Cornell Medicine Study Shows

High Salt Diet Causes Cognitive Impairment in Mice, Weill Cornell Medicine Study Shows
New York researchers report that daily consumption of food with high levels of salt reduces blood flow to the brain and causes cognitive impairment in mice. The Weill Cornell Medicine study was the first to show a link between diet and cognitive impairment arising from a gut-initiated immune response. It has important implications for Alzheimer's and neurological diseases. Titled “Dietary salt promotes neurovascular and cognitive dysfunction through a gut-initiated TH17 response,” it appeared in the journal Nature Neuroscience. “We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise,” Costantino Iadecola, the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine, said in a news release. He was senior author of the study. “This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension [high blood pressure],” added Iadecola, who is also director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute. High salt in the diet is a risk factor in both hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. But the negative effects of salt are broader than that, with studies showing that it can be harmful to the body independently of blood pressure effects. Based on this evidence, health organizations have recommended limiting salt intake. Previous studies have suggested that the brain is a prime target for these harmful effects. A high salt diet has been linked to cerebrovascular diseases, str
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