Tufts University scientists studied 21 compounds in a model of the Alzheimer’s plaque nervous system.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia (dementia), in which characteristic formations between neurons — protein plaques — form in the brain tissues. Chemicals found in green tea called catechins have been able to reduce these plaques in the lab. In addition, the compound resveratrol, found in blueberries, grapes, and red wine, also has similar effects on human brain cells.
The scientists tested the efficacy of 21 compounds on a 3D model of neural tissue. Catechins and resveratrol have proven effective in reducing plaque formation in these nerve cells. And they did it with virtually no side effects.
Some of the other compounds tested, including curcumin from turmeric, a diabetic drug, and the natural endogenous compound citicoline, also prevented plaque formation.
The researchers’ findings do not conclusively suggest that the neuroprotective properties of the 21 compounds studied will help stop the progression of dementia. For example, some of the compounds studied are poorly absorbed into the body or into the bloodstream. And some compounds could not penetrate the blood-brain barrier between the blood vessels of the brain and the cells that make up the brain tissue.
But the results are important because there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and methods to slow the progression of the disease are limited. Green tea and berries are rich in flavonoids, which can reduce cell-damaging free radicals, reduce inflammation in the brain, and improve cerebral blood flow.