August 27, 2018 – Cured Meat Danger?


Anchor lead: Are cured meats in the diet associated with mental illness? Elizabeth Tracey reports

People hospitalized with an episode of mania, one feature of bipolar disorder, ate more cured meats than those without the illness, a recent study by Robert Yolken and colleagues at Johns Hopkins found. Seva Khambadkone, an MD/PhD candidate at Hopkins, did work in rats that may validate the association, and says it makes sense in light of current thinking about mental illness.

Seva Khambadkone: We were looking to see whether in psychiatric illness its also, and we think it is, this combination of genetic vulnerabilities and multiple environmental hits that, when stacked on top of each other, eventually there’s a sort of straw that breaks the camel’s back. Our major interest here is trying to figure out what those straws could be and how we could treat patients not only with medications and such but also with maybe changes in lifestyle that could prevent those straws from being stacked and reduce both the emergence and the severity of illness.   :29

Both Yolken and Khambadkone say much more research will be necessary to confirm the link, and that the risk with cured meats may only affect those with a genetic vulnerability. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.