Many of us know of red wine’s potential benefits to heart health, but a new national study is focused on determining whether it can affect brain health as well.
The study will be analyzing the properties of resveratrol, a compound found in wine and red grapes that can prevent brain maturation and possibly combat the effects of degenerative neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Bob Sessions, an eighty-six year old Alzheimer’s patient, has never had a sip of alcohol in his life. However, he recently enrolled in the Red Wine Study at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D. C., in an attempt to buy time and prolong his life.
Georgetown is one of twenty-six institutions nationwide participating in the study in which researchers are examining the effects of the compound on patients with mild or early-stage forms of the disease. Dr. Raymond Turner, head of the study at Georgetown, says that scientists are not exactly sure how resveratrol works, but it is believed to activate a gene associated with brain aging. Aging in general is a risk factor for many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer. If resveratrol actually operates as scientists such as Dr. Turner suggest, it has the potential to benefit the treatment of many disorders.
Participants will not actually be drinking red wine. Instead, they will take pills containing concentrated doses of resveratrol, which will increase every three months of the study. At the end of the year-long examination period, each patient will have consumed the equivalent of the resveratrol found in 1,000 bottles of red wine.
Bob Sessions understands that volunteering for this study will not rid him of his condition, but if participation can slow down its effects in the future then it is worth it to him. For many other people living with the disease, any new treatment that can provide them with some hope for a better future is well worth it.