Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Preserves Brain Cell Integrity

Researchers uncovered real brain benefits from E-VOO (extra-virgin olive oil) infused diets inspired by the Mediterranean Diet rich in plant-based foods and healthy fats.  Highlights from the study showed that mice having cornerstone characteristics of dementia and Alzheimer’s given the E-VOO diet performed better in tests designed to evaluate working memory, spatial memory, and learning abilities.  Studies of the brain tissues revealed dramatic differences in nerve cell appearance and function.  “One thing that stood out immediately was synaptic integrity,” Dr. Pratico said.  The integrity of the connections between neurons, known as synapses, were preserved in animals on the E-VOO diet.  In addition, compared to mice on a regular diet, brain cells from animals in the olive oil group showed a dramatic increase in nerve cell autophagy activation, which ultimately is responsible for a reduction in levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau.  Animals destined for Alzheimer’s had significant wiggle room to dodge their biological fate.  

Researchers from Temple University Medical School published their findings on June 21 in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

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