Grapes may prevent, delay Alzheimer's

July 15, 2011 at 11:12 PM

NEW YORK, July 15 (UPI) -- Grape seed polyphenols -- an antioxidant -- may help prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease, New York researchers say.

Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, The Saunders Family Professor in Neurology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and colleagues evaluated the ability of grape-derived polyphenols to prevent the generation of a specific form of beta-amyloid peptide, a substance in the brain long known to cause the neurotoxicity associated with Alzheimer disease.

In partnership with a team at the University of Minnesota led by Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe, the researchers administered grape seed polyphenolic extracts to mice genetically determined to develop memory deficits and beta-amyloid neurotoxins similar to those found in Alzheimer's disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found that the brain content of the beta-amyloid *56, a specific form of beta-amyloid previously implicated in the promotion of Alzheimer's disease memory loss, was substantially reduced after treatment.

"Since naturally occurring polyphenols are also generally commercially available as nutritional supplements and have negligible adverse events even after prolonged periods of treatment, this new finding holds significant promise as a preventive method or treatment, and is being tested in translational studies in Alzheimer's disease patients," Pasinetti says in a statement.

The study authors emphasize that for grape-derived polyphenols to be effective, scientists need to identify a biomarker of disease that would pinpoint who is at high risk to develop Alzheimer's disease.

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