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S. Nicole Lane
June 26, 2017 1:49 pm

The road to understanding Alzheimer’s just became a little less narrow. Researchers discovered that olive oil can improve, and even enhance, memory. The study, published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, found that olive oil reduces a notable mark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Domenico Pratico, from the Lewis Klein School of Medicine, confirmed the findings to USA Today.

“We found that olive oil reduces brain inflammation but most importantly activates a process known as autophagy," he said.

What is Autophagy?

It’s when cells clear out debris and toxins from the brain. For Alzheimer’s, amyloid plaques and tau tangles are early markers for the disease.

“This is an exciting finding for us,” Pratico said. Since autophagy stages the beginning for Alzheimer’s disease, the discovery is important for both science and medicine.

Temple University researchers found that olive oil, “protects against memory loss” and “preserves the ability to learn and reduces conditions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.” Furthermore, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine studied mice with EVOO diets and found that they have better memory in comparison to mice who did not eat olive oil.

Pratico said the “exciting” finding sets researchers up for another experiment. The next step is to introduce EVOO later in the aging process.

There is a 54.5 percent increase of Alzheimer’s related deaths over the past 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alzheimer’s can be treated, but is not curable. There is a rise in the disease as well. In 2013, 5 million Americans had Alzheimer’s, whereas now 14 million are expected to have it by 2050. The condition affects a person’s language and memory and is the most common form of dementia in America.

Olive oil is a hub for good health.

The reduction of brain inflammation, toxins, breast cancer, and diabetes are all synonymous to EVOO.

A staple in the Mediterranean diet, the oil is now being considered as something more beneficial than fruits and vegetables. Moreover, Pratico said, “As a monounsaturated vegetable fat, it is healthier than saturated animal fats.”

What’s next for olive oil research?

Pratico said, “We want to know whether olive oil added at a later time point in the diet can stop or reverse the disease.”

While the study is still fresh, new research relating to the disease could shed new light on treatment and recovery.

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