New Studies Suggest Connections between AGEs and Mental Illnesses

Mental StressAs if slowing the aging process and avoiding body-deteriorating habits weren’t enough motivation to stay away from AGEs, more and more scientists are finding a connection between these harmful metabolic byproducts and serious mental illnesses.

The presence of AGEs is often indicative of oxidative stress, which is thought to be a contributing factor in the development of diseases including schizophrenia, ADHD, Parkinson’s, Asperger’s, Alzheimer’s, autism and even cancer. In fact, AGEs are believed to speed up oxidative cell damage, thus accelerating the aging process and increasing the chance of disease development.

An article published in Drug Discovery & Development Magazine examined the seemingly cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than five million Americans alone, is a progressively degenerative disease of the brain.

Elevated glucose levels—found in diabetes patients and commonly caused by excess AGEs—directly increased levels of a fundamental ingredient of brain plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients.

The Journal of Psychiatric Research, a respected source for reports on the latest findings in psychiatry, published a study earlier this year that examines the relationship between advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) and schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia, a disorder that affects more than one percent of the worldwide population, is characterized by abnormal social habits and an inability to distinguish between reality and delusion. While generally caused by genetic predispositions or drug abuse, the study suggests a pathogenetic link may exist between AGEs and schizophrenia.

While frightening to learn that such severe illnesses can be affected by something as common as AGEs, new information on these disorders bring the scientific community one step closer to effective preventative, diagnostic and treatment strategies.

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