Resveratrol, the self-styled molecule, found in red wine, which is already credited with a host of health benefits from cutting cholesterol to fending off cancer, might improve mobility and prevent life-threatening falls among older people, claim a study from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Falls are one of the leading causes of death in pensioners over seventy-five and half of elderly women die within two years of a fall. The problems of mobility are particularly common among older people who have Parkinson’s disease and other age-related neurological disorders. There are drus that help improve the motor-related coordination in Parkinson’s sufferers.
However, there are no analogous treatments available for balance and walking problems in otherwise healthy pensioners. A team led by Jane E. Cavanaugh, carried out study with young and old mice. They fed resveratrol to young and old mice for eight weeks and regularly tested their ability to walk along a rodent-sized beam.
In the beginning, the older mice struggled but, over time, they became just as smart on their paws as the younger animals. In laboratory tests researchers exposed neural cells to a neurotransmitter know as dopamine, which in large amounts can provoke cell death. However, neurons treated with resveratrol before being exposed to dopamine survived.
In more intimate examination, the team found that resveratrol alleviated the damage done by oxygen free radicals, produced by the breakdown of the dopamine, and activated protein signalling pathways, which seemed to encourage cell survival. If resveratrol has analogous effects on the human body, it could help prevent the painful falls and fractures from which many pensioners struggle to recover.
Earlier studies have shown that resveratrol found in red wine and dark-skinned might help lessen inflammation, lower cholesterol, cut the risk of heart disease and certain cancers and, perhaps, have some anti-aging effects in the body. The new study could lead to the development of natural products designed to help pensioners.
Lead author Cavanaugh, sated their study suggests that a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies, which are seen in the ageing population. That would therefore increase an ageing person’s quality of life and decrease their risk of hospitalization due to slips and falls.
The study findings were presented at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.