Extra virgin olive oil protects against memory loss

Prevent dementia Experts have revealed extra-virgin olive oil could help protect against dementia

Olive oil is considered a main component in the Mediterranean diet that is associated with a variety of health benefits.

A team of scientists from Temple University, Pennsylvania, has found what in the diet protects the brain from Alzheimer's-and how this key ingredient works to prevent cognitive decline and preserve memories.

Researchers say the oil could help reduce the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and certain tangles in the brain which researchers say are hallmarks of Alzheimer's.

Consuming a diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil may protect memory and learning ability, and prevent Alzheimer's disease, the study claims.

For the study, the researchers used the so-called triple transgenic model, a well-established mouse model for Alzheimer's disease.

By the time the mice had reached between nine months to a year old, the animals who were fed extra-virgin olive oil, researchers said, "performed significantly better on tests created to evaluate working memory, spatial memory, and learning abilities". It also clears out intracellular debris and toxins like amyloid plaques and tau tangles.

"One thing that stood out immediately was synaptic integrity", Praticò said.

The researchers also discovered that the integrity of synapses was preserved much better in the olive oil group and the brain tissue of the mice that fed olive oil had increased autophagy activation of the nerve cells.

Also, their nerve cells performed better, inflammation was reduced, and the beneficial process of autophagy was favorized.

But, at age nine months and 12 months, mice on the extra virgin olive oil-enriched diet performed "significantly better" on tests created to evaluate working memory, spatial memory, and learning abilities. They plan to follow up on their study by introducing extra virgin olive oil later on in the aging process to see what other benefits it might have. "This is a very important discovery, since we suspect that a reduction in autophagy marks the beginning of Alzheimer's disease".

The researchers divided the mouse models into two groups. Common signs include memory problems, trouble handling money, repeating questions, taking longer to complete daily tasks, poor judgment, and mood or personality changes.

"The thinking is that extra-virgin olive oil is better than fruits and vegetables alone", said study lead and Temple professor Domenico Pratico, USA Today reported.

A Mediterranean diet, heavy in fish, olive oil and plant-based foods, has always been known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as lowering the risk of dementia.

He said there has already been evidence that people who eat Mediterranean diet have lower risks of developing dementia when they grow old.

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