According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly 4.5 million Americans and is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable disease with a slow progression beginning with mild memory loss and ending with severe brain damage and death. While no treatment is proven to stop Alzheimer’s disease, some conventional drugs may limit symptoms for a short period of time in the early stages of the disease. Emerging research shows a correlation between red wine consumption and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive decline. Authors of a new NCCAM-funded study in mice found that grape seed-derived polyphenolics—similar to that in red wine—significantly reduced Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive deterioration.
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine conducted experiments in mice with Alzheimer’s disease to see if a highly purified 100 percent water-soluble polyphenolic extract from Vitis vinifera (cabernet sauvignon) grape seeds, could affect Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive deterioration. The mice received 5 months of either water containing grape seed extract or water alone as a placebo treatment. The mice were then given behavioral maze tests to determine cognitive function and brain tissue samples were tested to determine evidence of disease.
The researchers found that mice treated with grape seed extract had significantly reduced Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive deterioration compared to the control mice. This is due to the prevention of a molecule called amyloid forming in the brain that has been shown to cause Alzheimer’s disease-type cognitive impairment.