Recent research carried out at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. suggests that Resveratrol, a compound that’s found in red wine, could be of therapeutic benefit for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol appears to have an effect on the levels of a protein known as amyloid-beta40, which is seen to decline in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as symptoms of Alzheimer’s worsen. Scientists believe this is because the protein builds up in the brain rather than the CSF.
Approximately 120 people with Alzheimer’s disease took part in the study. They were divided into two groups: one group took a medication made from Resveratrol every day for a year, while the remainder were given a placebo. The medication contained a very high dosage of Resveratrol which was equivalent to the amount normally found in 1,000 bottles of wine.
The participants in the study who were given a placebo exhibited a decline in amyloid-beta40 during the study, while the volunteers who were given Resveratrol saw little or no change at all. These results suggest that that treatment may have led to less of the protein being deposited in the brain, although further studies will be needed to confirm this. Furthermore, this study did not include enough people to make a definite conclusion about whether the compound has a positive effect on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Volunteers took part in a series of cognitive tests
During the study, the volunteers took part in a series of cognitive tests, the results of which showed that there was no difference in the thinking abilities of either group. However, one test did show that the group who were given Resveratrol exhibited less decline in habitual daily activities, such as getting dressed and cooking, compared with the group who took the placebo. It was also found that the participants who took Resveratrol experienced more brain shrinkage than the placebo group, a finding that was totally unexpected and so far has not been fully explained; although it has been suggested that it may be due to reduced swelling in the brain.
Dr. R. Scott Turner, lead researcher at the Memory Disorders Program, explained that further research needs to be carried out to see whether it really does have a beneficial effect, and went on to say that he doesn’t recommend that people should buy or take Resveratrol at this present time.
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