Eating barbecued, grilled or fried meat could increase the risk of being struck down by dementia, scientists have discovered.
Research by US experts suggests that compounds called advanced glycation end products, or Ages, suppress an anti-ageing enzyme known as Sirt1.
Protein-rich foods that are cooked at very high temperatures raise the level of these harmful Ages in blood. The scientists found mice that were fed Ages accumulated a brain protein which is a key indicator of dementia in humans.
Researchers said their follow-up study of 93 people aged over 60 showed that those with high amounts of Ages in their blood suffered progressive mental decline. Professor Helen Vlassara, who led the probe, said: “Because Ages can be modified in humans, recognition that this under-appreciated risk factor plays a role in AD [age-related dementia] may open unique therapeutic avenues.”