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Olive Oil Might Prevent the Development of Alzheimer's Disease

29 June 2017

Mice with diets enriched with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) were found to have a better capacity for learning and better memory than mice that didn't consume the oil, according to researchers at Temple University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine. While there was no difference in the appearance of the mice, at age 9 months and 12 months, the mice in the olive oil group "performed significantly better on tests created to evaluate working memory, spatial memory, and learning abilities".

Dr Domenico Praticò, a professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology and the Center for Translational Medicine at LKSOM, described the findings as "exciting".

At a closer look, researchers also learned that mice who consumed more olive oil had better functioning synapses - connections between neurons.

Praticò explained that there is a process called autophagy by which the cells break down and clean the toxins and the resultant debris including the amyloid plaques and the tau tangles that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Pratico and his team now plan to extend the research to see whether or not extra-virgin olive oil has a similar impact on mice when they are 12 months old, when plaques and tangles have already developed.

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While this discovery pertains only to mice at this stage, they are excited by the results.

The study aimed to investigate the effect that daily consumption of EVOO has on the incidence of Alzheimer's disease by investigating its impact on an Alzheimer's disease-like phenotype found in modified mice.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting millions of people worldwide.

Phosphorylated tau is responsible for neurofibrillary tangles, which are suspected of contributing to the nerve cell dysfunction that is responsible for Alzheimer's memory-loss symptoms.

A new study indicates that extra virgin olive has neurological benefits.

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Olive oil will help to preserve the memory. Due to the activation of autophagy was preserved memory and synaptic integrity, and pathologic effects in animals otherwise destined for the development of Alzheimer's disease, was significantly reduced.

A Mediterranean diet, heavy in fish, olive oil and plant-based foods, has always been known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as lowering the risk of dementia.

Researchers say the beginning of Alzheimer's disease could be caused by a reduction in autophagy.

The thing is, eating olive oil once or twice does nothing - you need to introduce it firmly into your diet to reap the benefits, but that's definitely worth it.

He added: "Usually when a patient sees a doctor for suspected symptoms of dementia, the disease is already present".

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Olive Oil Might Prevent the Development of Alzheimer's Disease