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Neuroscience News: Olive oil protects against Alzheimer's disease

Researchers have long appreciated the benefit of the "Mediterranean Diet" which is rich in olive oil and vegetables. Now they have a possible explanation for how olive oil protects against Alzheimer's disease, a cause of dementia.

American Chemical Society (ACS) News Service weekly reports that oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, boosted two proteins and key enzymes that protect nerve cells from the beta-amyloid deposits in the brain. This discovery could lead to a targeted treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Oleocanthal acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth most common cause of death in the U.S. As the population ages, Alzheimer's disease is expected to increase. Already 1 in 8 older Americans has Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that Alzheimer's disease is caused when beta-amyloid proteins are deposited in the brain leading to nerve cell disruptions and eventual death. It is the leading cause of dementia.

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