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Asia Pacific: Blueberry vinegar could boost brain health in mice


Blueberry vinegar could restore cognitive function in mice, according to a report in American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Recent studies have shown that the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, have lower levels of the signaling compound acetylcholine and its receptors.

Research has also demonstrated that blocking acetylcholine receptors disrupts learning and memory.

Drugs to stop the breakdown of acetylcholine have been developed to fight dementia, but they often do not last long in the body and can be toxic to the liver.

Natural extracts could be a safer treatment option, and some animal studies suggest that these extracts can improve cognition.

Additionally, fermentation can boost the bioactivity of some natural products.

Beong-Ou Lim and colleagues wanted to test whether vinegar made from blueberries, which are packed with a wide range of active compounds, might help prevent cognitive decline.

To carry out their experiment, the researchers administered blueberry vinegar to mice with induced amnesia.

Measurements of molecules in their brains showed that the vinegar reduced the breakdown of acetylcholine and boosted levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein associated with maintaining and creating healthy neurons.

To test how the treatment affected cognition, the researchers analyzed the animals’ performance in mazes and an avoidance test, in which the mice would receive a low-intensity shock in one of two chambers.

The treated rodents showed improved performance in both of these tests, suggesting that the fermented product improved short-term memory.

Although further testing is needed, the researchers say that blueberry vinegar could potentially be a promising food to help treat amnesia and cognitive decline related to aging.

The authors acknowledge funding from Konkuk University.