from the beer-is-there-anything-it-can't-do? dept.
Beer is one of the oldest and most popular beverages in the world, with some people loving and others hating the distinct, bitter taste of the hops used to flavor its many varieties. But an especially "hoppy" brew might have unique health benefits. Recent research published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience reports that chemicals extracted from hop flowers can, in lab dishes, inhibit the clumping of amyloid beta proteins, which is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
AD is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease, often marked by memory loss and personality changes in older adults. [...] Accordingly, preventative strategies and therapeutics that can intervene before symptoms appear are of increasing interest.
One of these strategies involves "nutraceuticals," or foods that have some type of medicinal or nutritional function. The hop flowers used to flavor beers have been explored as one of these potential nutraceuticals, with previous studies suggesting that the plant could interfere with the accumulation of amyloid beta proteins associated with AD. So, Cristina Airoldi, Alessandro Palmioli and colleagues wanted to investigate which chemical compounds in hops had this effect.
[...] In tests, they found that the extracts had antioxidant properties and could prevent amyloid beta proteins from clumping in human nerve cells. The most successful extract was from the Tettnang hop, found in many types of lagers and lighter ales. [...] The researchers say that although this work may not justify drinking more bitter brews, it shows that hop compounds could serve as the basis for nutraceuticals that combat the development of AD.
Alessandro Palmioli, Valeria Mazzoni, Ada De Luigi, et al., Alzheimer's Disease Prevention through Natural Compounds: Cell-Free, In Vitro, and In Vivo Dissection of Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) Multitarget Activity, ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.2c00444
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Turning off Waze or your favorite GPS app and using an old-fashioned map may be the best way to fight Alzheimer's disease, a new study reveals:
Researchers at McMaster University say orienteering, an outdoor sport that exercises the mind and body through navigation puzzles, can train the brain and stave off cognitive decline. The aim of orienteering is to navigate between checkpoints or controls marked on a special map. In competitive orienteering, the challenge is to complete the course in the quickest time.
For older adults, scientists say the sport — which sharpens navigational skills and memory — could become a useful intervention measure to fight off the slow decline related to dementia onset. They believe the physical and cognitive demands of orienteering can stimulate parts of the brain our ancient ancestors used for hunting and gathering.
The human brain evolved thousands of years ago to adapt to harsh environments by creating new neural pathways, the McMaster team explains. Those same brain functions are not always necessary today, however, thanks to GPS apps and food being readily available.
Unfortunately, the team says these skills fall into a "use it or lose it" situation.
[...] People who participated in orienteering displayed better spatial navigation and memory skills, suggesting that adding elements of wayfinding into their daily routines benefited them over their lifetime.
Emma E. Waddington, Jennifer J. Heisz. Orienteering experts report more proficient spatial processing and memory across adulthood, PLOS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280435)
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