As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: April 12, 2013
by Ashik Siddique for Medical Daily:
A new study explains how cocoa compounds fight the neuronal cell death that leads to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, on a molecular level in the brain.
It’s well established that chocolate contains pleasure-inducing and mood-enhancing chemicals, and previous studies have touted cocoa’s rich antioxidant and brain-boosting properties. Recent studies have supported the ability of chocolate compounds called flavanols to protect neuron cells against degeneration and dementia.
The new research confirms the antioxidant properties of polyphenols, the larger class of compounds that includes flavanols, and establishes how they work to protect the brain on a cellular level.
Researchers led by Annamaria Cimini of the University of L’Aquila in Italy created cellular models of Alzheimer’s disease, treated with the Aß plaques and Aß peptides associated with neurodegeneration. Applying cocoa polyphenols to those cells triggered the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes neuron growth and counteracts cell death caused by oxidative stress.
“Our studies indicate for the first time the cocoa polyphenols do not act only as mere anti-oxidant but they, directly or indirectly, activate the BDNF survival pathway counteracting neuronal death” said Cimini in a statement.
The results, published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, seem to confirm that flavanols in chocolate can indeed protect your brain from neurodegeneration, or at least slow it down.
Since the experiments were only conducted on isolated human cells, it’s unclear how much cocoa powder is necessary or sufficient to gain the BDNF-boosting neuroprotective effects.
Still, baby boomers should take note- in case you needed more convincing to add chocolate to your food intake, the study confirms that at least moderate amounts of cocoa consumption can stave off cognitive impairment and neuronal death.
Other recent research has extended chocolate’s health benefits to relieving persistent coughs, cutting heart attack and stroke risk. But watch out – cocoa also stimulates enkephalin, a naturally occurring brain opioid that drives overconsumption. Chocolate addiction might be a small price to pay for your brain health.
For young adults with autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (AD), molecular markers can identify changes associated with the disease before clinical onset, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in JAMA Neurology. Yakeel T. Quiroz, Ph.D., from Massachusetts...
Foods can determine whether someone will suffer from dementia in later years, according to researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot. A large-scale international study that...
Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is not an easy task. Caregiving is a long-term endeavour that is mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially demanding, and is a role that...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.