Dementia affects millions of people across the globe, as well as their families. But what if there was a way to fight memory loss?
A new study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found blueberry vinegar could help stall this devastating symptom of dementia.
In fact, the research found that the natural product restored cognitive function in mice. But could it work on humans too?
According to experts, the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – have lower levels of acetylcholine, a signalling compound, and its receptors.
According to Science Daily, “drugs to stop the breakdown of acetylcholine have been developed to fight dementia, but they often don’t last long in the body and can be toxic to the liver”.
The study claims natural extracts could in fact be safer, and help cognition in the same manner that the drugs are designed to do.
Researchers therefore tested whether vinegar made from blueberries, which are packed with a wide range of active compounds, could help prevent cognitive decline.
After giving the vinegar to mice with induced amnesia, “the vinegar reduced the breakdown of acetylcholine and boosted levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein associated with maintaining and creating healthy neurons”, the site reports.
Researchers then analysed the animals’ performance in mazes and an avoidance test to see how it had affected their cognition.
The blueberry vinegar improved the animals’ performance in both tests, which reportedly suggests that their short-term memory was improved. The researchers said that the vinegar could be a promising food to help treat amnesia and the cognitive decline associated with ageing, but it has yet to be tested on humans.
This comes after recent research suggested marriage could help prevent the disease.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, marriage could actually help when it comes to the loss of brain function.
The research found that people who haven’t been in a relationship for their entire lives are 42 per cent more likely to develop dementia than people who are in a relationship or are married.