Shrewd Living

Last Updated: 05/11/2014 10:47 PST

This Fruit Could Stop Memory Loss For Good

Afraid of losing your memory? Turns out there’s a new way to prevent a type of memory loss associated with dementia, according to researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

The solution? Eating a bowl of strawberries.

The findings, which were published in the journal Aging Cell, say that a natural chemical found in strawberries, called fisetin, was shown to reduce memory impairments in mice as their brains aged–and therefore reducing the side effects of Alzheimer’s disease, a type of memory loss disease.

Unfortunately, it did not affect amyloid plaques in the mice brains, which often increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Fisetin didn’t affect the plaques,” says Pamela Maher, a senior staff scientist for Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory. ” It seems to act on other pathways that haven’t been seriously investigated in the past as therapeutic targets. We had already shown that in normal animals, fisetin can improve memory. What we showed here is that it also can have an effect on animals prone to Alzheimer’s.”

As for how Maher came across this discovery, she did so based on previous evidence which showed that fisetin protected neurons in the brain from the side effects of aging. That was 10 years ago. Now, in 2014, she completed a study investigating how this chemical affected the memories of mice born with a specific gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

To do so, her team fed mice the fisetin chemical in addition to their normal food intake starting when they were 3 months old. As the mice aged, Maher then looked closely at how fast their brains aged.

As a result, she discovered that mice given fisetin performed just as well as adult mice when they carried out specific memory tasks–but mice who did not receive this chemical didn’t fare so well.

“It may be that compounds like this that have more than one target are most effective at treating Alzheimer’s disease,” says Maher. “The model that we used here was a preventive model. We started the mice on the drugs before they had any memory loss.”

“What we realized is that fisetin has a number of properties that we thought might be beneficial when it comes to Alzheimer’s,” says Maher. “Even as the disease would have been progressing, the fisetin was able to continue preventing symptoms.”

What You Should Do

Worried about developing memory loss? Listen to Maher’s advice–she advocates fighting memory loss before it begins. To keep your mind sharp, add a bowl of strawberries to your diet, preferably frozen or raw. Consider also exercising your brain with memory exercises as well, which have been shown to ward off age-related memory loss.


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