Strawberries could reduce chance of Alzheimer’s, study finds

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Strawberries could help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study from researchers at Rush University in Chicago.

They found that a compound in strawberries, pelargonidin may be associated with less neurofibrillary tau tangles in the brain. “Tau tangles are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, which is caused by abnormal changes with tau proteins that accumulate in the brain,” a Rush news release said. The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“We suspect the anti-inflammatory properties of pelargonidin may decrease overall neuroinflammation,” said Dr. Julie Schneider, author of the study. Inflammation in the brain has been linked to tau tangles and other Alzheimer’s pathologies.

“Among berries, strawberries are the most abundant source of pelargonidin,” the release says.
Researchers got their data from a long-term study in more than 40 retirement communities and senior public housing units across northern Illinois that began in 1997. It had 575 brain autopsies and dietary information developed from a questionnaire for up to nearly 20 years prior to death, the release said. “Each person received annual, standardized testing for cognitive ability in five areas — episodic memory, working memory, semantic memory, visuospatial ability and perceptual speed.”
Puja Agarwal, an author of the study and a nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor of internal medicine at Rush, cautions, “The study was an observational study and does not prove a direct causal relationship. Further research is needed to understand the role of nutrition in Alzheimer’s disease, but this study gives us hope on how specific dietary components such as berry may help brain health.”
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