Extra virgin olive oil could prevent Alzheimer’s disease
A naturally occurring compound called oleocanthal that is found in the oil alters the structure of toxic brain chemicals that are believed to contribute to the debilitating effects of dementia.
Doctors say that this structural change slows down the chemicals’ ability to damage brain nerve cells.
The chemicals are believed to “directly disrupt” the nerve cells from working in the brains of Alzheimer’s eventually leading to memory loss, cell death, and whole disruption of brain function.
Dr Paul Breslin, a sensory psychobiologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and lead author of the study, said: “The findings may help identify effective preventative measures and lead to improved therapeutics in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.”
The team, who identified the harmful structure of brain chemicals, known as ADDLs in 1998, say this has led to a “major shift” in thinking about the causes, progression and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Breslin said of the findings: “If antibody treatment of Alzheimer’s is enhanced by oleocanthal, the collective anti-toxic and immunological effects of this compound may lead to a successful treatment for an incurable disease.
“Only clinical trials will tell for sure.”
The findings are reported in the October 15 2009 issue of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.