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Virgin olive oil may offer protection against dementia

Virgin olive oil may offer protection against dementia
People who obtain most of their fat intake from virgin olive oil may be protecting themselves against Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. This is suggested by an animal study that researchers at Temple University in the US published in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

The researchers gave six-month-old genetically modified 3xTg mice, which develop Alzheimer's early on in life, either a standard diet or feed to which virgin olive oil had been added and continued this regimen for six months. The mice in both groups consumed the same amount of kilocalories.

The researchers let the mice swim several times in an aquarium. The first times that they did this they had placed a platform just under the surface of the water where the animals could rest. When the mice had found the platform the researchers took the mice out of the water - and returned them to it a little later. The researchers then looked to see whether the mice could remember where the platform had been the first time. This kind of aquarium is called a Morris water maze.

In addition, at the end of the six months, the researchers checked the mice's brains for the classic indicators of Alzheimer's. One indicator is that brain cells no longer break down non-functional proteins. Neurologists say that autophagy has reduced. As a result, the concentration of amyloid-beta and phosphorylated tau protein (a transport protein) reach toxic levels and brain cells die.

The memory of the mice in the olive oil group was better than the memory of the mice in the control group. In the brains of the mice in the olive oil group the researchers found less accumulation of amyloid beta and phosphorylated tau protein and, last but not least, more autophagy.

Virgin olive oil may offer protection against dementia

"We found that olive oil reduces brain inflammation but most importantly activates a process known as autophagy," summarised research team leader Domenico Pratico the findings in a press release. [ June 21, 2017]

"Thanks to the autophagy activation, memory and synaptic integrity were preserved, and the pathological effects in animals otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer's disease were significantly reduced. This is a very important discovery, since we suspect that a reduction in autophagy marks the beginning of Alzheimer's disease."

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2017 Jun 21;4(8):564-74.

Saturated fats in meat and dairy hasten mental decline, unsaturated fats in nuts and olive oil delay decline 26.11.2014

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