Extra Virgin Olive Oil Staves Off Multiple Forms Of Dementia.
One of the key ways stave off the effects of aging is to boost brain function. And if there was one thing every person should consider doing right now to keep their brain young, it is to add extra virgin olive oil
) to their diet, according to research by scientists at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM). EVOO
is a superfood, rich in cell-protecting antioxidants and known for its multiple health benefits, including helping put the brakes on diseases linked to aging, most notably cardiovascular disease.
Previous LKSOM research on mice also showed that EVOO preserves memory and protects the brain against Alzheimer's disease.
A recent study in animal models published in the journal Aging Cell
, LKSOM scientists show that yet another group of aging-related diseases can be added to that list of tauopathies, which are characterized by the gradual buildup of an abnormal form of a protein called tau in the brain. This process leads to a decline in mental function, or dementia. The findings are the first to suggest that EVOO
can defend against a specific type of mental decline linked to tauopathy known as frontotemporal dementia
Typically, Alzheimer's disease
is itself one form of dementia
. It primarily affects the hippocampus ie the memory storage center in the brain. Frontotemporal dementia affects the areas of the brain near the forehead and ears. Symptoms typically emerge between ages 40 and 65 and include changes in personality and behavior, difficulties with language and writing, and eventual deterioration of memory and ability to learn from prior experience.
Dr Domenico Praticò, MD, Scott Richards North Star Foundation Chair for Alzheimer
's Research, Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology, and Director of the Alzheimer
's Center at Temple at LKSOM, and senior investigator of the study describes the new work as supplying another piece in the story about EVOO's ability to ward off cognitive decline and to protect the junctions where neurons come together to exchange information, which are known as synapses.
Dr Domenico Praticò told Thailand Medical
has been a part of the human diet for a very long time and has many benefits for health, for reasons that we do not yet fully understand," he said. "The realization that EVOO
can protect the brain against different forms of dementia
gives us an opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms through which it acts to support brain health."
In past research using a mouse model in which animals were destined to develop Alzheimer's disease, Dr. Praticò's team showed that EVOO
supplied in the diet protected young mice from memory and learning impairment as they aged. Most notably, when the researcher
s looked at brain tissue from mice fed EVOO
, they did not see features typical of cognitive decline, particularly amyloid plaques ie sticky proteins that gum up communication pathways between neurons in the brain. Rather, the animals' brains looked normal.
The researchers’ new study shows that the same is true in the case of mice engineered to develop tauopathy. In these mice, normal tau protein turns defective and accumulates in the brain, forming harmful tau deposits, also called tangles. Tau deposits, similar to amyloid plaques in Alzheimer
's disease, block neuron communication and thereby impair thinking and memory, resulting in frontotemporal dementia
The ‘tau mice’ were put on a diet supplemented with EVOO
at a young age, comparable to about age 30 or 40 in humans. Six months later, when mice were the equivalent of age 60 in humans, tauopathy-prone animals experienced a 60 percent reduction in damaging tau
deposits, compared to littermates that were not fed EVOO. Animals on the EVOO
diet also performed better on memory and learning tests than animals deprived of EVOO
The researchers upon examining brain tissue from EVOO
-fed mice, they found that improved brain function was likely facilitated by healthier synapse function, which in turn was associated with greater-than-normal levels of a protein known as complexin-1. Complexin-1 is known to play a critical role in maintaining healthy synapses.
The researchers now plan to explore what happens when EVOO
is fed to older animals that have begun to develop tau deposits and signs of cognitive decline, which more closely reflects the clinical scenario in humans.
Dr. Praticò added, "We are particularly interested in knowing whether EVOO
can reverse tau damage and ultimately treat tauopathy in older mice.”
The team also also planning initiating actual clinical trials sometime early 2020.
Reference : Elisabetta Lauretti et al, Extra virgin olive oil improves synaptic activity, short‐term plasticity, memory, and neuropathology in a tauopathy model, Aging Cell (2019). DOI: 10.1111/acel.13076