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Published on: May 5, 2013
by Victoria Ward for The Telegraph:
Researchers found that three glasses of bubbly a day could help ward off brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
They discovered that a compound found in the black grapes, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier, both of which are used for champagne, helps stave off forgetfulness. Jeremy Spencer, a biochemistry professor at Reading University, said: “Dementia probably starts in the 40s and goes on to the 80s. It is a gradual decline and so the earlier people take these beneficial compounds in champagne, the better.”
It is not the first time scientists have identified health benefits in champagne. In 2009, the same team found that it was as good for the heart as cocoa or red wine polyphenol antioxidants, which are believed to reduce the effects of cell-damaging free radicals in the body.
The memory aid found in champagne is a different compound, phenolic acid.
In the latest study, researchers found that the drink provoked a noticeable boost to spatial memory.
The experiments were conducted on rats, which had champagne mashed into their food every day for six weeks.
Each rat was then left to run in a maze to find an edible treat. Five minutes later, the exercise was repeated to see if the rat had remembered where it was found.
Without champagne, the rats had a 50 per cent success rate, but after a tipple their score shot up to an average 70 per cent.
Prof Spencer told the Mail on Sunday: “The results were dramatic. After rats consumed champagne regularly, there was a 200 per cent increase of proteins important for determining effective memory. This occurred in rats after just six weeks. We think it would take about three years in humans.
“This research is exciting because it illustrates for the first time that moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning such as memory.”
He now hopes to conduct a trial on up to 60 pensioners who will be asked to drink champagne for three years.
A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “This is an interesting study, especially for those who enjoy a glass of bubbly. However, people should not start celebrating just yet. This is the first time a link between champagne and dementia risk reduction has been found. A lot more research is needed.”
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