AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Extra-virgin Olive Oil Preserves Memory and Protects Brain Against Alzheimer's Disease, New Research at Temple Shows

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The Mediterranean diet, rich in plant-based foods, is associated with a variety of health benefits, including a lower incidence of dementia. Now, researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) have identified a specific ingredient that protects against cognitive decline: extra-virgin olive oil, a major component of the Mediterranean diet. In a study published online, the researchers show that the consumption of extra-virgin olive oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain – classic markers of Alzheimer’s disease. The Temple team also identified the mechanisms underlying the protective effects of extra-virgin olive oil. “We found that olive oil reduces brain inflammation but most importantly activates a process known as autophagy,” explained senior investigator Domenico Praticò, MD, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology and the Center for Translational Medicine at LKSOM. 

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