Red Wine Prevents Memory Loss

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A woman poses for a picture at the Vinitaly wine expo in Verona
IN PHOTO: A woman poses for a picture at the Vinitaly wine expo in Verona. Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo

Drinking red wine has a positive effect on the brain, a new study has shown. Researchers from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine have uncovered that red wine helps prevent memory loss.

The benefits of red wine are attributed to resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red grapes, some berries and peanuts. Ashok Shetty PhD. has been studying the antioxidant because he believed that is also has a positive effect on the hippocampus of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for functions such as mood, learning and memory. Cognitive capacity in humans and animals declines after middle age.

Working with aged rats, Shetty and colleagues were able to show that the antioxidant found in red grapes may have the ability to treat memory loss in older adults. The antioxidant also has the ability to potentially alleviate neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that while spatial ability was largely maintained in the rats who didn’t get the antioxidant resveratrol, after 22 to 25 months the ability started to decline dramatically. Meanwhile both spatial ability and memory improved in rats treated with the antioxidant. The growth and development of neurons in the rats treated with the antioxidant doubled compared to the rats in the control group. The rats given the antioxidant also had better microvasculatures, which indicated improvements in blood flow. They also had lower chronic inflammation in the hippocampus.

The researchers worked with 344 male Fischer rats aged 21 months old. Before the study started the rats were given seven to ten days to get used to the area they were being kept in. The results conclude that using the antioxidant found in red wine during late and middle age can aid in improving mood and memory function in older adults. The researchers did not, however, mention how much of the antioxidant is required.

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