While making a presentation at Neuroscience 2007 in San Diego, the researchers revealed that polyphenols present in grape juice and red wine produced such preventive effects.
The researchers have found that polyphenols prevent the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain, and their formation into plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease.
"This grape polyphenol research is preliminary, but very encouraging," said Dr. Giulio Pasinetti, principal investigator of the research program in polyphenolics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM).
"The results show the potential protective role which non-alcoholic, polyphenol-rich Concord grape juice may play in maintaining long term cognitive health," added Dr. Pasinetti.
In a previous study, the same team of researchers had found that moderate consumption of red wine reduced AD-type neuropathology and prevented cognitive decline in a transgenic mouse model.
They, however, had warned that even moderate intake of alcohol might carry health risks, particularly with an older population.
Dr. Pasinetti says that the studies being conducted by his group will provide critical information about the functional role of selected grape-derived polyphenols in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive deterioration.
"Our goal is to learn which compounds are bioactively available to reach the brain and exert a benefit," says Dr. Pasinetti.