Red Wine Provides Hope For Alzheimer's Sufferers

I came across this interesting article.  Would love to hear your thoughts/comments.  Happy hump day!

New research suggests resveratrol in red wine isn’t only good for the heart but also the brain.
By   | Posted Thursday, 07-Feb-2013

A compound found in red wine may help to stall the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom have discovered that resveratrol found in red wine and extracts in green tea disrupt the disease by preventing the harmful clumps of protein that cause brain cells to die from latching on to the cells.

The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, offer potential new targets for developing drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, for which there is currently no cure.

“This is an important step in increasing our understanding of the cause and progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” says lead researcher Professor Nigel Hooper of the university’s faculty of biological sciences. “It’s a misconception that Alzheimer’s is a natural part of aging; it’s a disease that we believe can ultimately be cured through finding new opportunities for drug targets like this.”

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a build-up of amyloid protein in the brain, which clumps together to form toxic, sticky balls. These amyloid balls latch on to the surface of nerve cells, causing them to malfunction and eventually die.

The scientists formed amyloid balls in a test tube and added them to human and animal brain cells. Hooper explains: “When we added the extracts from red wine and green tea, which recent research has shown to re-shape amyloid proteins, the amyloid balls no longer harmed the nerve cells. We saw that this was because their shape was distorted, so they could no longer bind to prions [infectious agents composed of protein] and disrupt cell function.

The health-giving benefits of resveratrol have been extolled on many occasions since the early 1990s. Red wines contain 10 times more resveratrol than white wines and, according to Master of Wine Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine, “Wines produced in cooler regions or areas with greater disease pressure such as Burgundy and New York often have more resveratrol, while wines from hot, dry climates such as Australia and California frequently have lower resveratrol concentrations.”

However, it’s not time to rush out to the supermarket and buy cases of cool-climate reds, says Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research U.K. “While these early-stage results should not be a signal for people to stock up on green tea and red wine, they could provide an important new lead in the search for new and effective treatments.”

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