A natural compound found in strawberries, cucumbers, and other fruits and vegetables appears to stop memory loss tied to Alzheimer's disease, according to new research by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
In experiments on mice with a rodent form of Alzheimer's, the scientists found a daily dose of the compound — a flavonol called fisetin — prevented the progressive memory and learning impairments that are hallmarks of the disease.
It did not alter the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, accumulations of proteins which are commonly blamed for Alzheimer's disease. As a result, the Salk researchers said the findings suggests a way to treat Alzheimer's symptoms independently of targeting amyloid plaques, according to a
"We had already shown that in normal animals, fisetin can improve memory," said lead research Pamela Maher, a senior staff scientist in Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, who detailed the team's findings in the journal Aging Cell. "What we showed here is that it also can have an effect on animals prone to Alzheimer's."
Next, Maher's team plans to study how fisetin affects memory and cognitive function, with the hope that it may lead to new treatments for the condition.
"It may be that compounds like this that have more than one target are most effective at treating Alzheimer's disease," said Maher, "because it's a complex disease where there are a lot of things going wrong."
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