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We have all heard of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and olive oil. A new study from Temple University now demonstrates the potential of additional benefits for the brain, including prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Domenic Pratico of Temple University demonstrated that the consumption of olive oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. It seems that the EVOO activates a process called autophagy, which is the process by which cells clear out debris and toxins that accumulate in the brain and cause neuron cell dysfunction.
The studies were performed in animal models. The animals, which typically developed the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, demonstrated dramatic differences in neurologic behavior between the group fed EVOO vs. the control group. Even more dramatic were the microscopic differences in the nerve cell and their connections with other nerves. The activation of the autophagy process in the animals who were fed the olive oil led to the preservation of memory and synaptic integrity.
Dr. Pratico plans to study the effects of EVOO on animals that have already developed Alzheimer’s disease to see if there is a curative potential.
One more reason to make extra-virgin olive oil a staple in your kitchen!
Reference: Extra-virgin olive oil preserves memory and protects brain against Alzheimer’ study
Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, June 21, 2007
Dr. Domenico Pratico, Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Microbiology, Center for
Translational Medicine, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University