Fermented Blueberries May Restore Cognitive Function In Amnesia
Blueberry vinegar is suggested by researchers from Konkuk University to help boost memory and restore cognitive function of people with dementia, as published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Whether vinegar made from blueberries might help improve cognitive function and stop cognitive deterioration was explored in the study by administering blueberry vinegar to mice with induced amnesia for seven days, then behavioral assessment was performed using behavior tests.
Findings show that blueberry vinegar decreases breakdown of acetylcholine and increases levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor proteins that plays a role in maintenance and production of healthy nerve cells. This conclusion was arrived at after conducting in vivo studies to evaluate mice performance in mazes and an avoidance test in which the mice would receive low intensity shocks in one of two chambers. When fed blueberry vinegar the animal showed better performance in both tests, suggesting that blueberry vinegar boosted short term memory. According to the researchers blueberry vinegar has potential to help treat amnesia and cognitive deterioration among older populations.
This study was built on past studies showing relationships of cognitive function and signaling compound acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter responsible for thinking, focus, concentration, and memory; that can be obtained by consuming dietary sources of choline such as animal proteins, seafood, dairy, eggs, soybeans, seeds, and nuts.
Studies have shown brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease have lower levels of acetylcholine and its receptors. Stopping acetylcholine receptors has been shown to interrupt memory and learning. Drugs are available to help prevent breakdown of acetylcholine to fight dementia, but they are deemed unsafe as the only last within the body for a short amount of time and can be harmful to the liver. Studies have suggested natural extracts can enhance cognitive function, and fermenting natural extracts can increase bioactivity of some natural products.
Dementia has been defined by W.H.O as a syndrome wherein behavior, thinking, memory, and ability to execute daily activities have shown deterioration. 50 million people are estimated to have dementia around the globe, with approximately 10 million new cases annually. Although dementia is more common among older populations it is not a normal part of aging, rather caused by damage to brain cells which interrupts ability of brain cells to communicate with each other affecting feelings, thinking, and behavior.
There is no known treatment to cure dementia currently, but there are ways to help improve lives of those suffering from the condition. Main goals for dementia care according to W.H.O include early diagnosis to promote optimal management, optimization of physical health, cognitive function, activity, and well being; determining and treating accompanying physical conditions, identifying and treating behavioral and psychological symptoms, and providing information and long term support to carers.
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Seong Min Hong, Kyong Hee Soe, Taek Hwan Lee, In Sook Kim, Young Min Lee, Beong Ou Lim. Cognitive Improving Effects by Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium crymbosum L.) Vinegar on Scopolamine-Induced Amnesia Mice Model. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017; DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03965