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Compound in fruits and vegetables prevents symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in mice

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March 9, 2014

A compound commonly found in fruit and vegetables, including apples, grapes and strawberri...

A compound commonly found in fruit and vegetables, including apples, grapes and strawberries, has been found to prevent Alzheimer's disease in mice (Photo: Shutterstock)

Alzheimer's disease represents the most common form of dementia, with the early stages of the disease generally characterized with short term memory loss and learning difficulties that increase in severity as the patient progresses in age. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California, have discovered that with regular treatments of the antioxidant fisetin, they were able to prevent memory loss in mice with genetic mutations linked to Alzheimer's.

Whilst the cause and progression of Alzheimer's are not well understood, current theories link the existence of the disease to amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain. There is currently no cure or treatment to either eradicate or halt the advance of the disease, however the research carried out by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies is a good example of how scientists are instead attempting to combat the symptoms of the debilitating disease.

It was found that fisetin, a chemical commonly found in fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, apples and grapes, prevents loss of memory and reduces learning difficulties in mice as they age.

The compound was tested by administering it once a day to mice with the Alzheimer's mutation from the age of three months. The mice were then put through a water maze designed to test their short term memory and learning skills.

The tests showed that, once the mice were nine months old, those that had not been administered the fisetin began to struggle with the maze, whilst those that had been treated with fisetin performed as well as a mice who did not have the genetic mutations linked to Alzheimer's disease.

"We had already shown that in normal animals, fisetin can improve memory," said Pamela Maher, a senior staff scientist in Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory. "What we showed here is that it also can have an effect on animals prone to Alzheimer's."

The team found that the fisetin didn't affect the amyloid plaques, but that pathways involved with cellular inflammation were dampened and anti-inflammatory molecules were present. Additionally, fisetin prevented a protein known as p35 from being cleaved into a shorter version – this shorter version is known to turn many molecular pathways on and off. Examining whether fisetin affects targets other than p35 will be a focus of further research.

"It may be that compounds like this that have more than one target are most effective at treating Alzheimer's disease," says Maher, "because it's a complex disease where there are a lot of things going wrong."

The scientists will also examine the effect that the timing of the administration of fisetin can have on the disease. Maher was also keen to highlight that the tests involved a preventative model, with the drugs administered to the mice before they had exhibited any memory loss. Because people don't seek treatment before they have memory problems, the next logical step in the study would be to examine whether the application of fisetin could reverse the deteriorating effects of Alzheimer's that have already taken place.

The results of the team's study were published in the journal Aging Cell.

Source: Salk Institute for Biological Studies

About the Author
Anthony Wood Anthony is a recent law school graduate who also has a degree in Ancient History, for some reason or another. Residing in the UK, Anthony has had a passion about anything space orientated from a young age and finds it baffling that we have yet to colonize the moon. When not writing he can be found watching American football and growing out his magnificent beard.   All articles by Anthony Wood
5 Comments

I was not familiar to this advantages of eating these fruits. Thank you for the post.

Clipping Path Specialist
10th March, 2014 @ 03:26 am PDT

isn't it great how we've classified everything as a remedy? as if disease is something that should be considered normal for human life. when are people going to wake up to this crap and start realizing that the disease is CAUSED by the lack of these things we call remedies. they aren't remedies, THEY ARE FOOD. and when we substitute real food with processed garbage designed to increase revenue disease is inevitable.

the title of this article should read; Stupid scientists are forced to admit that if we keep eating crap we will keep getting diseases.

Mike Luke
10th March, 2014 @ 10:44 am PDT

Going to the study for information shows that they used a dosage of 25 mg/kg in the mice they tested it on. Or 11.33 mg/lb. For a 160 pound man that is 1814 mg. Supplements of the stuff are 100 mg/cap so that 160 lb man would need to take 18 caps a day to get the dosage used in the study.

One wonders how much fruit one would have to eat to get 1.8 gm of fisetin. I'll bet it's enough to kill you with calories.

DonGateley
10th March, 2014 @ 11:10 am PDT

Once again eating Real Food is shown to be better than "industrial grade" food. What a huge surprise. In the mid seventies I read a business magazine article that crowed about the merit of partially hydrogenated oils and the increase in shelf life for foods made with these modified oils. Before I had even finished reading this article I concluded that such foods would not likely be metabolized the same as natural foods & oils. Ever since then I have limited the amount of processed foods with hydrogenated oils. Now, forty years later we know in detail that such un-natural compounds are unsafe. Learn to cook with real foods. It is fun and good for you!

StWils
10th March, 2014 @ 12:03 pm PDT

The food industry will continue to produce junk if it sells. As people wise up and boycott the junk it will disappear. Knowledge is power. The more you learn and apply (read every label), the longer healthier life you lead.

Whole Foods Market is for the higher incomes, but there are three alternatives: 1. Farmer's markets. 2. Trader Joe's. 3. Organic gardening.

Be aware there are many deceptive words used the food industry: "natural", "low fat", and "healthy" are meaningless.

If you are looking for the ultimate life extension diet learn about raw, organic fruit and veggies as a foundation.

Don Duncan
10th March, 2014 @ 04:59 pm PDT
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