Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Red wine compound could help seniors walk away from mobility problems

20.08.2012
In a stride toward better health in later life, scientists reported today that resveratrol, the so-called "miracle molecule" found in red wine, might help improve mobility and prevent life-threatening falls among older people.

The finding, believed to be the first of its kind, was presented today to some 14,000 scientists and others gathered at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

The researchers say this report — based on studies of laboratory mice — could lead to the development of natural products designed to help older Americans live safer and more productive lives.

"Our study suggests that a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained either through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies that are seen in our aging population," said Jane E. Cavanaugh, Ph.D., leader of the research team. "And that would, therefore, increase an aging person's quality of life and decrease their risk of hospitalization due to slips and falls."

Cavanaugh notes that falls become more common with advancing age and are the leading cause of injury-related death among people older than 65. In addition, about one in three older Americans have difficulty with balance or walking, according to the American Geriatrics Society.

These mobility problems are particularly common among older people who have Parkinson's disease and other age-related neurological disorders, Cavanagh said. She is with Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. However, while drugs can help alleviate some of the motor-related problems in Parkinson's disease, Cavanaugh points out that there are no comparable treatments for balance and walking problems in otherwise healthy older adults. She and her colleagues set out to rectify that, focusing on natural chemical compounds such as resveratrol.

Previous studies have shown that resveratrol — an antioxidant found in red wine and dark-skinned fruits — might help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, slash the risk of heart disease and certain cancers and, perhaps, have some anti-aging effects in the body. Resveratrol is available as a dietary supplement and is abundant in foods such as red grapes, blueberries and nuts.

To determine its effects on balance and mobility, Cavanaugh, Erika N. Allen and colleagues fed young and old laboratory mice a diet containing resveratrol for eight weeks. They periodically tested the rodents' ability to navigate a steel mesh balance beam, counting the number of times that each mouse took a misstep. Initially, the older mice had more difficulty maneuvering on the obstacle. But by week four, the older mice made far fewer missteps and were on par with the young mice.

While it is unclear how resveratrol works in the body, Cavanagh's team found some clues. In laboratory experiments, they exposed neural cells to a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which in large amounts can induce cell death. However, neurons treated with resveratrol before being exposed to dopamine survived. On closer examination, the researchers found that resveratrol mitigated the damage done by oxygen free radicals, generated by the breakdown of the dopamine, and activated protein signaling pathways that appeared to promote cell survival.

Although she is encouraged by the results, Cavanaugh notes that resveratrol does have some drawbacks. For instance, it is poorly absorbed by the body. In fact, she calculates that a 150-pound person would have to drink almost 700 4-ounce glasses of red wine a day to absorb enough resveratrol to get any beneficial effects. That's why she and her colleagues are investigating similar man-made compounds that mimic the effects of resveratrol and might be more bioavailable to the body. They're also trying to determine how much resveratrol actually enters the brain.

Nevertheless, the researchers suspect that even if the effects of resveratrol in the brain are minute, this small margin could potentially be enough to help older people remain steady on their feet and avoid taking serious tumbles.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Note to journalists: Please report that this research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Abstract

As the population over 65 increases, the incidence of age-related injuries will rise. Currently, there are few therapeutic regimens for age-related motor deficits. Resveratrol is a phytoalexin that has been shown to improve motor function in aged mice. To examine the effect of resveratrol or resveratrol analogs on motor function in vivo, mice (2, 10 and 22 months) were fed resveratrol or pinostilbene containing diet for 8 weeks. Motor function was examined using a challenge beam test and a cylinder test. To investigate the mechanisms that may underlie a reversal of motor deficits, dopamine (DA) and dopamine metabolite levels were examined in all groups and dopaminergic cells were treated with resveratrol or resveratrol analogs +/- DA. Additionally, dopaminergic cells were analyzed for ERK1/2 and ERK5 activation. Resveratrol and pinostilbene protected dopaminergic cells from DA-induced cell death. This research may lead to novel therapies for age-related motor deficits using natural compounds.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

nachricht Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>