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Grape seed extract may prevent Alzheimer's: study

By Stephen Daniells , 23-Jun-2008

A polyphenol-rich extract from grape seed may prevent the build up of plaques in the brain that may cause Alzheimer's disease, according to a study from Mount Sinai/UCLA.

The researchers used a new grape seed extract (MegaNatural-AZ, Polyphenolics) to test the efficacy in a special strain of mouse used to model human Alzheimer's disease. The findings are published in this month's issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The build-up of plaque from beta-amyloid deposits is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress. This is related to a loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide. The direct and indirect cost of Alzheimer care is over $100 bn (€81 bn) in the US, while direct costs in the UK are estimated at £15 bn (€22 bn). Using Tg2576 mice, which also experience build up of the beta-amyloid proteins and are thus used to model human Alzheimer's disease, the researchers found that oral administration of the grape seed extract led to a significant reduction in the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease, in addition to a decrease in the amount of beta-amyloid proteins in the brains of the animals, report the researchers, led by Dr. Giulio Pasinetti at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Our study suggests that grape seed-derived polyphenolics may be useful agents to prevent or treat AD," wrote the researchers. Pasinetti went one step further and stated that the grape seed extract may even be able to prevent memory loss in people who had yet developed Alzheimer's disease. The study authors were affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital, UCLA, Polyphenolics division of Constellation Brands., Department of Veteran Affairs, Japan Human Science Foundation, NIH, NCCAM and Alzheimers Association. Alzheimer's research The literature contains many examples of the potential benefits of polyphenols, particularly those of fruit origin, to protect against oxidative stress linked to loss of cognitive function and Alzheimer's. Such is the interest in dietary approaches to improve brain health the world's largest food company, Nestlé, recently signalled its intention to get a head start on the competition with the signing of an agreement in November 2006 with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) to investigate the role of nutrition in cognitive function. The agreement with the EPFL, Nestlé's largest collaboration with a university of research institute, will see the company contributing up to CHF 5 million (€ 3.1 million) every year for five years, with a review after four years to potentially extend the project further. Source: Journal of Neuroscience June 2008, Volume 28, Pages 6388-6392, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0364-08.2008 "Grape-Derived Polyphenolics Prevent A-beta Oligomerization and Attenuate Cognitive Deterioration in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease" Authors: Jun Wang, L. Ho, W. Zhao, K. Ono, C. Rosensweig, L. Chen, N. Humala, D.B. Teplow, G.M. Pasinetti

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