Red wine has long been thought of as heart healthy. But now scientists are looking to see if it can also help the brain. Doctors are conducting a study to look at whether a compound found in wine and red grapes can prevent brain aging and possibly stop degenerative diseases like alzheimer’s from worsening.
“I’m not a fellow who gives up, and I’m not going to give up yet,” Alzheimer’s patient Bob Sessions said.
At 86 years old, Sessions has never had a sip of alcohol, but now, he’s hoping that red wine will be the key to stopping his Alzheimer’s Disease.
“I’m buying time, [and] prolonging my life,” Sessions said.
Sessions recently enrolled in the Red Wine Study at Georgetown University Medical Center, where doctors are investigating whether a compound in red grapes called resveratrol can stop Alzheimer’s progression.
“This is a totally new approach,” Dr. Raymond Turner, a neurologist, said. We’ve never tried this before for Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Dr. Turner is leading the study at Georgetown. He says researchers don’t know exactly how reservatrol works, but they believe it can activate a gene associated with brain aging.
“Of course, aging is the major risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as Diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and so we think that if it really does target these genes that affect the aging process, then it has the potential to benefit many disorders – not just Alzheimer’s Disease, but other like diabetes as well,” Dr. Turner said.
Patients in the study won’t actually be drinking red wine. They’ll be given pills with a concentrated form of the compound. The dose will increase every three months and by the end of the year-long study, they’ll have had the resveratrol equivalent of 1,000 bottles of red wine.
“You couldn’t possibly drink this much red wine at home,” Dr. Turner.
“Anything that will slow the progress is going to be worth it,” Julia Sessions, Bob’s wife, said.
Julia and Bob Sessions say they realize this study won’t cure his disease, but even if it slows it down or helps prevent Alzheimer’s in the future, it’s worth it.
“I want to stay as alive as I can for as long as I can,” Bob Sessions said.
Georgetown is one of 26 institutions across the country participating in this study. They are recruiting patients will mild or early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease.
Citation: NBC Universal. “Study: Red Wine Helping Alzheimer’s Disease.” 9News.com. NBC Universal, 2012. Web. 2 Jul 2012. http://www.9news.com/news/article/275445/188/Study-Red-wine-helping-Alzheimers-Disease