Study links red wine with healthy brains
7 Healthcast: Study links red wine with healthy brains
UNDATED (WHDH) -- Bob Sessions is 86 years old and he’s never had a sip of alcohol in his life, but now he’s hoping that red wine will be the key to stopping his Alzheimer ’s disease.
“I’m buying time, prolonging my life,” he said. He recently enrolled in the Red Wine Study at Georgetown University Medical Center, where doctors are investigating whether a compound in red grapes called resveratrol can stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
“This is a totally new approach,” neurologist Dr. Raymond Turner said. “We’ve never tried this before for Alzheimer’s disease.”
Turner is leading the study at Georgetown. He says researchers don’t know exactly how resveratrol works, but they believe it can activate a gene associated with the brain’s aging.
“And of course aging is the major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes and cancer and heart disease, so we think that if it really does target these genes that regulate the aging process that we may have a potential benefit in many disorders,” he said.
Patients in the study won’t actually be drinking red wine; they’ll be given pills with a concentrated form of the compound. The dosage will increase every three months, and by the end of the year-long study, they’ll have had the resveratrol equivalent of 1,000 bottles of red wine.
“Anything that will slow the progress is going to be worth it,” Julia Sessions said. She and Bob say they realize the study won’t cure his disease, but even if it slows it down or helps prevent Alzheimer’s in the future, it’s all worth it.
“I want to stay as alive as I can for as long as I can,” Sessions said.