Calcium in dairy linked to dementia

Too much calcium may lead to dementia in the elderly new research reveals. Scientists found that excess calcium in the diet can narrow the blood vessels in the brain leading to tissue damage (lesions) that may cause cognitive impairment, dementia, depression and stroke. Scientists scanned the brains of 79 men and 153 women aged between 60 and 86; all were found to have a number of lesions. The same US team previously showed that people who consume high levels of fatty dairy produce have more lesions but found that fat intake alone was not a factor. These findings, presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington DC, suggest that the calcium in dairy foods may be responsible. This study provides support to the growing number of researchers concerned about the effects of too much calcium, particularly in older adults.

Payne, M.E., department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, neuropsychiatric imaging research laboratory, Duke University, Durham, NC; Harris, S., USDA Nutrition Center, Tuft University, Boston;  May 1 2007 presentation, Experimental Biology 2007, Washington, DC.