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Moderate consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon red wine may reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) - at least that is the result of an important mouse study conducted at New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The red wine, which is also widely produced in Israel, was found to reduce AD-type neuropathology in 11-month-old mice that served as a model for Alzheimer's, the common fatal disease of dementia in the elderly.
The study, described by researchers Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti and Dr. Jun Wang as a "breakthrough," will be published in the November 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal and will also be presented at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, next month. "Our study is the first to report that moderate consumption of red wine in the form of Cabernet Sauvignon delivered in the drinking water for seven months significantly reduces AD-type neuropathology and memory deterioration in the mice," they reported.
Red wine is already recommended in moderate amounts for reducing the risk of heart disease. The grape skins are known to contain flavonoids, antioxidants that fight the deterioration of cells and tissues. The study supported epidemiological evidence indicating that moderate wine consumption, within the range recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration's dietary guidelines of one glass of wine per day for women and two for men, may help reduce the relative risk for AD clinical dementia. "These findings give researchers and millions of families a glimpse of light at the end of the long dark tunnel for future prevention of this disease," they added.
People with AD exhibit elevated levels of beta-amyloid peptides that cause plaque buildup in the brain, which is the main characteristic of AD. While genetic factors are responsible in early-onset cases, they appear to play less of a role in late-onset-sporadic AD cases, the most common form of AD. However, lifestyle factors such as diet and now moderate wine consumption are receiving increasing attention for its potential preventative impact on AD.
The wine used was delivered in a final concentration of approximately 6 percent ethanol and was found to significantly reduce AD-type deterioration of spatial memory function and neuropathology in mice relative to control mice that were treated with either a comparable amount of pure ethanol or water alone.
Asked to comment, Hadassah University Medical Center metabolism expert Prof. Elliot Berry, who has long advocated moderate consumption of red wine, said he recommended it for preventing various ills. "Even though not everything that works in mice works in humans, it's wonderful, but I don't want people to become alcoholic. People should not drink on their own and not before they drive; it also should not be consumed with a small number of medications. To reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, one should also do mental exercise regularly - whether it is playing bridge, doing crossword puzzles, solving sudoku puzzles or studying Talmud."