A Harvard neurologist stated before that memory loss is not a natural part of aging. Unfortunately there is no medicine or cure to reverse memory loss. Dementia is a growing issue and while by evolution people grow older, the percentage of Alzheimer patients also grows exponentially bigger by age.

dementia-age-graph

A lot of scientific research is being done every day, from effects of anesthesia and surgery on dementia to reveal everyday substances that can have surprisingly positive effects on Dementia and general well-being. People tend to forget that the brain is representative for the human body and will also respond to sickness in similar ways. Stress, lack of sleep, nutricion deficiencies are all threats to the brain and it is our job to keep these things in check.

Studies on Everday Substances

Green tea & red wine

Black iron asian teapot with sprigs of mint for teaA study from the University of Leeds found that two common drinks, green tea and red wine, contain natural chemicals that appear to disrupt the natural progression of Alzheimer’s.

When a person has Alzheimer’s, amyloid-protein clusters stick to the surface of nerve cells in their brain. This causes two negative reactions:

  • The nerve cells malfunction and die
  • More amyloid is produced, which goes on to destroy other cells.

Researchers at Leeds wanted to find a way to keep the clusters from sticking to brain tissue. If they could prevent sticking, the brain cells would live on undamaged, and the amyloids would not reproduce.

Recent research shows that chemical compounds found in green tea and red wine change the shape of amyloid proteins. Leeds scientists wondered whether changing amyloid clusters’ shape would make it unable to stick to brain tissue.

First they created amyloid clusters in test tubes, then added them to brain cells (both animal and human). Next, they added the extracts from green tea and red wine and watched to see what happened. As hoped, the extracts changed the shape of the amyloid clusters which, in turn, kept them from sticking to the brain tissue cells.

Cannabis

cannabinoidsAnother study recently completed by Harvard University and other agencies, studied the effect of cannabis on HIV-associated Dementia (HAD). Due to the controversial nature of the cannabis plant relatively little concluding research has been done on cannabinoids. The legal status of medical use of cannabis depends heavily per country, which in many cases pushes interested patients to become a home grower and venture out on their own to obtain their own batch of seeds, looking for support in this type of medication.

On the case of dementia, cannabinoids have been shown to activate neuroprotective effects under some conditions. One of the major neurological issues that can arise from HAD is suppressed growth and development of nervous tissue. The goal of Harvard’s project was to see if Cannabis would stimulate neuroprotection against HAD damage.

  • Cannabis inhibited neurotoxicity (the poisoning of cells)
  • Enhanced development of nervous tissue in the hippocampus by stimulating new cell growth

Discovering the positive effects these three substances can have on Dementia is encouraging. We will keep you informed as research continues.