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Red wine 'reduces Alzheimer's risk'
A compound in grapes and red wine could significantly reduce the effects of Alzheimer's disease, says a US study.

Scientists at the Research Centre for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders in New York found resveratrol in red wine and grapes could reduce the amount of harmful plaques, known as amyloid-beta peptides, on the brains of Alzheimer's sufferers.
 
 It is currently not known whether the plaques are a cause or by-product of the disease, but they contribute to the symptoms suffered by people with Alzheimer's and dementia. 
 
The study, which will appear in the Journal of Biological Chemistry this month, revealed cells treated with resveratrol had lower instances of amyloid-beta than those cells which were untreated.
 
 "Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol occurring in abundance in several plants, including grapes, berries and peanuts," said study author Philippe Marambaud.
 
 "The polyphenol is found in high concentrations in red wines. The highest concentration of resveratrol has been reported in wines prepared from Pinot Noir grapes.
 
 "Generally, white wines contain one per cent to five per cent of the resveratrol content present in most red wines."
 
 The researchers believe the compound acts by stimulating a multi-protein called proteasome, which can turn amyloid-beta peptides into harmless polypeptides and amino acids.
 
 However, the research team said more studies were needed on how reservatol could be used to help Alzheimer's patients since the concentration of the substance in grapes and wine may be too small to have an effect on the brain plaques.
 
 "Our long-term goal is now to elucidate the exact molecular mechanisms involved in the beneficial properties of resveratrol as a necessary prerequisite to the identification of novel molecular targets and therapeutic approaches," Mr Marambaud added.
 
 At present the research team have found forms of reservatol which are 20 times more potent than the original compound.
 
 Commenting on the research, a spokeswoman for the Alzheimer's Research Trust said: "[This study] raises interesting possibilities that there might be therapeutic potential, but there will be lots more work needed, especially given the concentrations of the substance which were needed to give an effect."
 
 About 375,000 people in the UK have Alzheimer's disease, which causes progressive loss of brain function.track
 
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Last Updated ( Aug 21, 2006 at 05:42 PM )