A recent study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that regularly consuming grapes may protect against the decline of metabolic activity in those with early memory decline, preventing Alzheimer’s.
Low metabolic activity in certain areas of the brain is a characteristic of the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and the study showed that eating grapes twice daily for six months not only protected these areas from metabolic decline, but also increased metabolic activity in other areas of the brain. The increased metabolic activity was found in regions that are linked to attention and working memory performance, and improvement was seen in both functions.
To conduct the study, researchers randomly assigned participants with early memory decline to one of two groups. The first group received whole grape powder that was the equivalent to 2 1/4 cups of grapes per day, while the second group received a placebo powder. The cognitive performance of each participant was measured before the study began, and again after six months of subjects consuming their respective powders. PET scans were also completed at these times to assess changes in brain metabolism.
After six months, the study showed that the participants who consumed grapes regularly had better metabolic activity in the areas normally affected by the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, as well as improvements in cognitive function and working memory.
In contrast, the participants who did not consume grapes regularly saw a significant decline in metabolic activity in these areas. These changes are due to the polyphenols found in grapes that help to increase anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities within the brain.
Alzheimer’s affects 5.4 million Americans and the number is steadily climbing, making research into prevention and combative strategies exceedingly important. Further studies need to be conducted on the role grapes may play in the prevention of this disease to better assess how the polyphenols found within the fruit work on a larger scale.
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