You'd expect red wine to make remembering harder not easier, but in fact it helps prevent age related memory decline, according to new research.
Scientists at Texas A&M say it's all down to the wonder antioxidant resveratrol, also found in the skin of red grapes, some berries and peanuts.
Ashok K Shetty, a professor at the university's Health Science Center College of Medicine, was investigating the benefits of resveratrol, already celebrated for it's alleged ability to help prevent heart disease and stave off aging.
Shetty and his team of researchers found the antioxidant also has a positive effect on the hippocampus, part of the brain that is vital to memory, learning and mood.
The study, published in Scientific Reports late last month, said that elderly rats treated with resveratrol enjoyed far better blood flow, memory and other brain growth than those not given the antioxidant.
Shetty said: “The results of the study were striking.
“They indicated that for the control rats who did not receive resveratrol, spatial learning ability was largely maintained but ability to make new spatial memories significantly declined between 22 and 25 months. By contrast, both spatial learning and memory improved in the resveratrol-treated rats.”
The rats given resveratrol experienced double the neurogenesis (the growth and development of neurons) of the control rats, much better microvasculature, and decreased inflammation of the hippocampus.
Shetty said: “The study provides novel evidence that resveratrol treatment in late middle age can help improve memory and mood function in old age.
ZACHARY DAVIES BOREN