Could movie popcorn be linked to Alzheimer’s Disease? Show Notes

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Could movie popcorn harm your brain?

Movie popcorn has often been criticized for its high calorie count, but researchers now say it may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease,

Last week, Fox News reported that diacetyl, an ingredient that gives popcorn its buttery flavor and smell, may be linked to the incurable brain disease.

The scientists said they focused on that ingredient because it has already been associated with respiratory and other health issues in workers at microwave popcorn and food-flavoring factories.

Diacetyl is used in other products such as margarine, snacks and candies, baked goods, some beers and some types of white wine.

Robert Vince was the study’s lead author and the director of the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota. He says diacetyl is similar in structure to another substance that aids the clumping of certain proteins in the brain — a significant indicator of Alzheimer’s.

Just like that other substance, diacetyl was found to increase the amount or protein clumping.

The popcorn ingredient was also able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, a defense which prevents harmful substances from entering the brain.

By the way, this study comes just months after a study performed by scientists at the American Chemical Society that suggested popcorn is “fantastically good for you  because of its high level of antioxidants. 

So I guess the verdict is eat the popcorn, but ditch the chemical butter substitute!

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.


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