Grape seed can prevent Alzheimers

November 10th, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 10 (IANS) Grape seeds have been found to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Using a mouse model, a team of researchers headed by Xin-Fu Zhou of Flinders University, has found that adding grape seed extract to the diet prevent the formation of deposits of amyloid proteins in the brain.

Zhou said that over-production of amyloid-beta proteins, or the body’s failure to degrade them, leads to the formation of clumps or snarls in the brain and is a major cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

“This aggregation of amyloid will cause loss of nerve connections, cell death and inflammation in the brain, leading to cognitive decline,” Zhou said.

Many fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols - complex molecules with anti-oxidant properties - and some have been identified by scientists as a possible method for reducing amyloid deposition, according to a Flinders release.

Zhou’s team, collaborating with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) team, chose to experiment with the polyphenol extract from grape seeds.

Grape seed extract was fed to mice affected by transgenic Alzheimer’s for six months, after which the researchers observed their behaviour and brain pathology, comparing them with a control group.

“We found that grape seed extract was a very powerful agent in reducing amyloid-beta deposits in the brain. It also produced marginal improvements in cognitive function and, most importantly, reduced inflammation,” Zhou said.

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