A Mount Sinai School of Medicine study found giving mice with amyloid plaques red wine slows their memory loss and brain cell death - adding to a body of science linking compounds in the beverage to slowing the Alzheimer's disease-related symptom.
In the study - set to for publication in November's Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal - wine-drinking mice learned to escape from a maze significantly faster than mice drinking alcohol-spiked water or water.
The results could have implications for formulators in the production of supplements for age-related conditions.
According to the Alzheimer's Society, there are nearly 18 million people in the world with dementia. Around 55 percent of those who suffer from dementia have Alzheimer's.
In the Mount Sinai study, the mice's wine intake was aligned to what is the equivalent of moderate consumption in humans - a five-ounce glass per day for women and two for men.
In the past, both alcohol and a red wine compound, resveratrol, have been linked to a reduction in the onset of dementia.
For several months, the Mount Sinai mice were given cabernet sauvignon or ethanol in their drinking water, while another group of mice drank plain water. All the mice had amyloid plaques in their brains that occur in humans with Alzheimer's disease.
The research team, led by Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, assessed the mice's memory by testing their ability to get out of a maze. The wine-drinking mice were able to exit the maze significantly faster than those drinking alcohol-spiked water or water only, the scientists found.
The study only advocates moderate red wine consumption as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
There are no known cures or effective preventive strategies for Alzheimer's. Genetics play a role in early-onset cases, but appear to have less influence in the most common form of the disease, late-onset-sporadic cases.