Red Wine Compound Could Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
Resveratrol – a compound that can be found in red wine – may be able to stabilise levels of a protein which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This new finding could potentially point towards a new way of treating the disease.
Previous research has found resveratrol to activate a group of proteins known as sirtuins, which have the potential to prevent or delay age-related diseases. With this in mind, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington, D.C. chose to further investigate the effects of resveratrol in Alzheimer’s patients.
In a year-long study involving 119 participants with Alzheimer’s disease, half were treated with resveratrol while the other half were treated with a placebo. Results showed that patients treated with resveratrol experienced little or no change to levels of amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Levels of this protein typically decline in Alzheimer’s patients, and this decline did occur in patients who were treated with the placebo.
The researchers also noted that those receiving resveratrol experienced some benefit in the participation of routine activities in the home. In addition, there was a more surprising finding – patients treated with resveratrol experienced a decrease in brain volume which was not seen in those who received a placebo. The team admit that they are unsure of how to interpret this finding. Lead researcher Dr R. Scott Turner suggests that the treatment could help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the brain.
The findings of the study are not enough to prove that resveratrol is an appropriate form of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but they are enough to allow the team to move on to a more definitive phase 3 trial of resveratrol, which will be carried out shortly. The study could be the first step towards a new form of treatment for the condition.