grapes and cognitive impairment

Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of 60 to 80 % of cases of dementia ,there are some 25 million cases Worldwide which are expected to rise. Mild cognitive impairment identifies individuals with elevated risk for dementia, and some 10% a year progress to Alzheimer’s disease.
Even age-associated memory impairment, formally called benign forgetfulness, may be associated with very early neurodegeneration. Older adult with subjective memory complaints with age-associated memory impairment show degradation in the medial temporal lobe . There is a trebling of risk of Alzheimers’s disease in these individuals. Memory complaints and associated manifestations in everyday functioning are indicators of neurodegeneration. Preventive interventions begun at an early stage cannot be other than good.
Specific constituents of grape juice eg polyphenols have neuroprotective effects.
Epidemiological studies indicate that consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of neurodegenerative disorders and better cognitive performance in the elderly.
Concord grape juice contains polyphenol compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and influence neuronal signalling. Concord grape juice supplementation has been shown to reduce inflammation, blood pressure and vascular pathology in individuals with cardio vascular disease and consumption of such flavonoid-containing foods is associated with a reduced risk for dementia. In this initial investigation of neurocognitive effects, Krikorian and colleagues Brit J Nutrition 2010 vol 103 pp 730-734 enrolled twelve older adults with memory decline but not dementia in a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial with Concord grape juice supplementation for 12 weeks. Significant improvement was observed in verbal learning and non-Significant enhancement of verbal and spatial recall. There was no appreciable effect of the intervention on depressive symptoms and no effect on weight or waist circumference. A small increase in fasting insulin was observed for those consuming grape juice. These preliminary findings suggest that supplementation with Concord grape juice may enhance cognitive function for older adults with early memory decline and offers hope for future studies.

Krikorian et al 2010 Concord juice supplementation improves memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, Brit J Nutrition vol 103 pp 730-734

Martin Eastwood
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