New Danish-led research suggests that signs of brain aging can be postponed in mice if placed on a high-fat diet. In the long term, this opens the possibility of treatment of children suffering from premature aging and patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The research project is headed by the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen and the National Institute of Health.
Cockayne syndrome (CS) is an accelerated aging disorder characterized by progressive neurodegeneration caused by mutations in genes encoding the DNA repair proteins CS group A or B (CSA or CSB). Since dietary interventions can alter neurodegenerative processes, Csbm/m mice were given a high-fat, caloric-restricted, or resveratrol-supplemented diet. High-fat feeding rescued the metabolic, transcriptomic, and behavioral phenotypes of Csbm/m mice. Furthermore, premature aging in CS mice, nematodes, and human cells results from aberrant PARP activation due to deficient DNA repair leading to decreased SIRT1 activity and mitochondrial dysfunction. Notably, β-hydroxybutyrate levels are increased by the high-fat diet, and β-hydroxybutyrate, PARP inhibition, or NAD+ supplementation can activate SIRT1 and rescue CS-associated phenotypes. Mechanistically, CSB can displace activated PARP1 from damaged DNA to limit its activity. This study connects two emerging longevity metabolites, β-hydroxybutyrate and NAD+, through the deacetylase SIRT1 and suggests possible interventions for CS.
I’m still not sure what to make of studies like this. Articles around the Internet refer to this research as “fat helps slow down brain aging”, but the study itself talks about a specific, rare problem called Cockayne Syndrome.