Dementia: Treatment to prevent memory loss may include cranberry
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Scientists have made significant strides in dementia research – but current defences may not suffice to curb the incoming wave of diagnoses. Preventing the disease’s onset, however, could make a difference. There is now evidence that cranberries could be instrumental in slowing memory loss caused by neurodegeneration.

A new study led by researchers at the University of East Anglia has found that 12-week consumption of cranberries could improve episodic memory.

The findings, published in the Journal of Frontiers in Nutrition, could have significant implications for patients with dementia, whose episodic memory is sensitive to the effects of the disease.

In fact, episodic memory, which involves long term recollection of previous experiences, is the first system to decline in patients with Alzheimer’s.

The latest results, however, show that consuming cranberries significantly improves participants’ memory of everyday events.

READ MORE: Dementia symptoms: 11 behavioural changes to be aware of – none relate to memory loss

Doctor David Vauzour, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Dementia is expected to affect around 152 million people by 2050.

“There is no known cure, so it is crucial that we seek modifiable lifestyle interventions, such as diet, that could help lessen disease risk and burden.

“Past studies have shown that higher dietary flavonoid intake is associated with slower rates of cognitive decline and dementia.”

Of all the flavonoids, foods rich in anthocyanin and pro-anthocyanidins, which give berries their red, blue, or purple colour, have been found to have the most potent effect.

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It has long been established that low consumption of fruits and vegetables is a significant modifiable risk factor associated with diseases of all kinds.

And there is growing evidence pointing to polyphenols from berries as the key to preventing such ailments.

In terms of their effects on the brain, however, prior research has shown dietary polyphenols protect the organ against neuro-inflammation.

Cranberries are rich in unique proanthocyanidins, which have distinct qualities compared to polyphenols found in other fruits.

The compound, also found in the seeds of grapes, has been shown to lower brain oxidative stress in the brain.

“Cranberries are rich in these micronutrients and have been recognised for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” noted Doctor Vauzour.

The 12-week study looked at the effects of eating cranberry on the lipid profiles of 60 cognitively healthy volunteers.

The experiment was the first of its kind to analyse the long-term impact of cranberries on brain health in humans.



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