Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) seems to be effective in combating cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease.
Extra virgin olive oil, a major element of the Mediterranean diet, would protect cognitive decline, according to the results of a study published in the medical journal “Annals of clinical and translational Neurology”. Consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain, a classic marker of Alzheimer's disease.
To study the relationship between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Dementia, Dr. Praticò and his colleagues used a model of genetically modified mice with Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers divided the animals into two groups, one received a diet enriched with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the other was fed normally. The prior group was fed with Olive Oil when the mice were six months old, before symptoms of Alzheimer's disease started to appear.
In general, there was no difference between the two groups of animals. However, at the ages of 9 and 12 months, the mice fed with the “Extra Virgin Olive Oil diet” group improved considerably in tests designed to assess working memory, spatial memory and learning skills.
A NEW THERAPEUTIC PATHWAY AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE.
The studies of the brain tissue on both groups of mice revealed differences in the aspect and function of nerve cells. The integrity of the connections between neurons, known as synapses, has been preserved in animals fed with "EVOO diet". Their brain cells have shown a dramatic increase in the activation of nerve cell Autophagy.
Autophagy is the process by which cells destroy themselves and eliminate intracellular debris and toxins, such as amyloid plaques and Tau proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease.
"We have found that olive oil reduces inflammation in the brain but, above all, activates a process known as autophagy," said lead author Domenico Praticò, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology and at the LKSOM Center for Translational Medicine.
"This is an exciting discovery for us," said Dr Praticò. "Thanks to the activation of autophagy, memory and synaptic integrity have been preserved and the pathological effects in animals normally destined to develop Alzheimer's disease have been considerably reduced. This is a very important discovery, because we suspect that a reduction in autophagy marks the onset of Alzheimer's disease."