Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Antioxidant-rich diets reduce brain damage from stroke in rats


Your mother was right. Eat your fruits and veggies -- they’re good for you!

And if that’s not reason enough, a new study suggests antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may limit brain damage from stroke and other neurological disorders. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF)College of Medicine, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is posted online and will be published in the May issue of the journal Experimental Neurology.

USF/VA neuroscientist Paula Bickford, PhD, and colleagues found that rats fed diets preventatively enriched with blueberries, spinach or an algae known as spirulina experienced less brain cell loss and improved recovery of movement following a stroke.

The study builds upon previous USF/VA research showing that diets enriched with blueberries, spinach or spirulina reversed normal age-related declines in memory and learning in old rats.

"I was amazed at the extent of neuroprotection these antioxidant-rich diets provided," said Dr. Bickford, a researcher at the USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair and James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital. "The size of the stroke was 50 to 75 percent less in rats treated with diets supplemented with blueberries, spinach or spirulina before the stroke."

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances in these fruits and vegetables may somehow reduce the nerve cell injury and death triggered by a stroke, the researchers suggest. "The clinical implication is that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may make a difference in the severity of a stroke," Dr. Bickford said. "It could be a readily available, inexpensive and relatively safe way to benefit stroke patients."

The researchers studied four groups of rats, all fed equal amounts of food for one month. One group was fed rat chow supplemented with blueberries, a second group chow with spinach, and the third chow with spirulina. The control (untreated) group ate chow only.

After four weeks, an ischemic stroke with reperfusion was induced in the rats. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot cuts off the oxygen supply to the brain like the kink in a hose cuts off water flow. Then, later, the clot is released and blood flow returns, which is known as reperfusion.

The size of the stroke in the rats fed blueberry or spinach supplements was half that seen in the brains of untreated rats. Rats fed spirulina-enriched diets had stroke lesions 75 percent smaller than their untreated counterparts. In addition, rats pretreated with the blueberry, spinach or spirulina diets showed greater increases in poststroke movement than the control group.

All the supplemented diets were rich in antioxidants, which scientists say may counteract the burst of free radicals involved in the cascade of brain cell death triggered by an ischemic stroke. An excess of free radicals can damage cellular lipids, proteins and DNA.

The supplemented diets also contained anti-inflammatory substances that may help reduce inflammation-induced injury following a stroke, Dr. Bickford said. When a stroke occurs, immune cells in the brain mount an inflammatory response – rushing to the site of injury to clear away the dead and dying cells. As a result, nearby healthy nerve cells may suffer collateral damage much the same way firefighters breaking into an apartment to put out a fire in one room may inadvertently cause damage to other rooms.

Teasing out just which beneficial chemicals contained in the blueberries and leafy greens might be reproduced therapeutically in pill form is difficult, Dr. Bickford said. "Whole foods contain multiple nutrients, so there are many different ways these diets could be protecting the brain. From a scientific perspective, it’s a package deal."

Dr. Bickford’s team is investigating whether rats treated with antioxidant-rich diets following strokes will experience improved recovery. The researchers also plan to study whether combinations of the diets might provide even greater protection against stroke damage than one diet alone.

Anne DeLotto Baier | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs
20.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues
20.03.2018 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>