Grossly irresponsible? Study found high salt diet bad for cognition, but experts questioned trial design
By Guan Yu Lim
- Last updated on
A study on mice has again shown that a diet high in salt is bad for the brain, but experts have questioned the amount of salt that was fed to the animals, with one even claiming it is “grossly irresponsible in terms of science.”
In a study conducted by researchers from USA, mice which were given a high sodium diet consisting of four or 8% NaCl for 12 weeks (8-16 times higher in salt than normal mouse diet – 0/5% NaCl) were found to accumulate modified tau, a protein associated with conditions that cause dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found that high sodium diet mice were significantly less able to navigate mazes (p<0.05) and recognise new objects (p=0.0188).
They reported in the journal Nature, “Dietary salt induces hyperphosphorylation of tau followed by cognitive dysfunction in mice, and that these effects are prevented by restoring endothelial nitric oxide production.”