A red wine compound suspected of having anti-aging effects is now also believed to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
US researchers came to this conclusion after examining the 120 Alzheimer’s patients that took part in their study. They were split up in two (2) separate groups – one that was given a daily dose of resveratrol, meds based on the red wine compound, and another that was given a placebo on a daily basis.
It’s worth mentioning that the resveratrol dose given to patients was quite high, enough so that the compound they consumed would be the equivalent of about what they would get if they were to drink 1.000 bottles of red wine.
The team said that resveratrol works by changing the levels of amyloid-beta40 (or Abeta40, as it’s also called). This is a protein commonly found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but its levels drop down as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.
Many researchers believe that while the levels of amyloid-beta40 decrease in the cerebrospinal fluid (which surrounds the brain and the spinal cord), they actually increase in the brain, and that this is what cause people to have symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
As for the results of the experiment, the subjects who were given a placebo showed a decline in their levels of amyloid-beta40, in the cerebrospinal fluid, whereas the subjects who were given resveratrol showed little to no change in their levels of amyloid-beta40, in the cerebrospinal fluid.
This has led the research team to theorize that resveratrol can control the amyloid-beta40 and prevent it from depositing in high levels, in the brain. However, the research team admitted that this needs to be confirmed and reinforced by future studies aimed specifically at gaining a better understanding of how the levels of amyloid-beta40 in the brain work.
Right now field experts can’t say with certainty if resveratrol actually stops or slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s, and they advice patients to exercise caution while they continue investigating the drug and its effects on the disease.
Dr. R. Scott Turner, director of the Memory Disorders Program over at Georgetown University Medical Center (Washington D.C.) and study researcher, offered a statement explaining that “I’m not recommending that people go out and buy resveratrol and start taking it. We need further studies to see if it really does have a benefit”.
One thing’s for sure, though. The drug is opening the eyes of researchers to new approaches. Resveratrol uses a brain pathway not used by any other Alzheimer’s drugs – while most of them target the levels of amyloid-beta40 directly, resveratrol targets them indirectly.
Dr. Turner informed that the drug is helping him and his colleagues see“a new mechanism, or a new pathway, towards Alzheimer’s treatments. This is targeting amyloid in an indirect way”. One popular theory is that resveratrol can activate sirtuins, proteins suspected of having anti-aging effects.
The researchers conducted five (5) cognitive tests with the 120 Alzheimer’s patients, and noticed that only one (1) of them pointed at a difference in the thinking abilities of the two (2) groups. It turns out that the subjects who were given resveratrol suffered less decline in their ability to cook, their ability to get dressed, their ability to use a phone, and their ability to perform other daily tasks.
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