CNS 2018: Reaffirming the importance of nutrition for optimal brain function

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Reaffirming The Importance Of Nutrition For Optimal Brain Function

Nutrition is essential for brain health at all stages of life providing it with the required substrates to maintain cellular integrity, support neurotransmitter metabolism, and meet its energy needs. Of the many nutrients involved in brain function, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has attracted a lot of attention in recent years, its high abundance in the brain suggesting it could have essential actions. In contrast, nutrients insufficiencies and malnutrition states have been associated with poorer functional recovery in various conditions. This symposium 1) will provide an overview of the evidence linking DHA to brain health and will discuss specific aspects of its metabolism and regulating role in neuroinflammation, and 2) will discuss the role of pre-existing and post-stroke protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) on sensori-motor impairment and recovery.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the symposium, participants will have gained insight on:

1) The most recent research on fatty acid metabolism in brain as it relates to diet;

2) The importance of nutrition as a modulator of motor recovery;

3) State-of-the art methodological assessment techniques.

Richard Bazinet: Polyunsaturated fatty acids and brain health. Can we link diet to brain health?

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA,) a polyunsaturated fatty acid, is highly conserved in the brain. DHA's conservation and high abundance in the brain has been interpreted to suggest it has an essential role in brain function. This presentation will provide a brief review of the evidence linking DHA to brain health including data from randomized clinical trials, observational studies, but focusing on basic experimental studies. Randomized controlled trials are the gold standard, but difficult to conduct, especially with regards to prevention. Observational studies are remarkably consistent, but, especially with regard to DHA, have many confounding variables. Animal studies provide strong mechanistic support for a role of DHA in the brain, but it is difficult to link these effects to cognitive decline and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in humans. Recent studies highlight a role for neuroinflammation in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease while animal studies suggest that DHA can regulate neuroinflammation and its resolution, which could be promising targets and areas of further study. One major hurdle is that we do not know the dietary requirement for DHA, especially how much is needed for the brain in health or disease. Recent studies imaging DHA uptake into the brain may help shed light on DHA metabolism in the brain and its requirement in health and disease.

Phyllis Paterson: The Role Of Nutrition In Motor Recovery After Stroke

The need for more effective treatments for stroke patients and the potential benefit of concurrently treating co-morbidity factors are well-established. Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is common in stroke patients, yet its prevention and treatment remain unresolved problems. PEM pre-exists in ~12-19% of elderly patients at onset of stroke. Its frequency escalates further after a stroke, up to 35-49%, due to barriers to eating and nutritional support, including physical and mental disabilities. While PEM has been associated with poorer functional recovery in stroke patients, proof of a cause:effect relationship has been precluded by study limitations and patient complexity. Thus, we use preclinical models of cortical stroke and PEM that mimic the clinical scenarios to examine the influence of both pre-existing and post-stroke PEM on sensori-motor impairment and recovery. Based on a combination of functional (motor) tasks, histology, and biochemical approaches, we will present evidence that PEM can: 1) impair recovery of post-stroke motor function, 2) through multiple inter-related systems that can include brain plasticity and inflammation, muscle phenotype, and the acute phase response, 3) and that these effects can vary depending on the time of onset of PEM relative to the stroke. At the end of the talk, participants will have gained insight into the importance of nutrition as a determinant of motor recovery after stroke, the utility of preclinical models for addressing these questions, and the potential for synchrotron-based spectroscopic imaging to assist investigation of underlying mechanisms.

Moderator: Guylaine Ferland, Université de Montréal


***Original Source: "2018 Annual Conference", Friday, May 4, 2018

Length: 1:14:32

Type: Video

Last Updated: June 21, 2018

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