Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antioxidant-rich Diets Reduce Brain Damage From Stroke In Rats

Date:
July 1, 2005
Source:
University of South Florida Health Sciences Center
Summary:
A new study suggests antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may limit brain damage from stroke and other neurological disorders.

Tampa, FL (April 12, 2005) -- Your mother was right. Eat your fruits and veggies -- they're good for you!

And if that's not reason enough, a new study suggests antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may limit brain damage from stroke and other neurological disorders. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF)College of Medicine, James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is posted online and will be published in the May issue of the journal Experimental Neurology.

USF/VA neuroscientist Paula Bickford, PhD, and colleagues found that rats fed diets preventatively enriched with blueberries, spinach or an algae known as spirulina experienced less brain cell loss and improved recovery of movement following a stroke.

The study builds upon previous USF/VA research showing that diets enriched with blueberries, spinach or spirulina reversed normal age-related declines in memory and learning in old rats.

"I was amazed at the extent of neuroprotection these antioxidant-rich diets provided," said Dr. Bickford, a researcher at the USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair and James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital. "The size of the stroke was 50 to 75 percent less in rats treated with diets supplemented with blueberries, spinach or spirulina before the stroke."

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances in these fruits and vegetables may somehow reduce the nerve cell injury and death triggered by a stroke, the researchers suggest. "The clinical implication is that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may make a difference in the severity of a stroke," Dr. Bickford said. "It could be a readily available, inexpensive and relatively safe way to benefit stroke patients."

The researchers studied four groups of rats, all fed equal amounts of food for one month. One group was fed rat chow supplemented with blueberries, a second group chow with spinach, and the third chow with spirulina. The control (untreated) group ate chow only.

After four weeks, an ischemic stroke with reperfusion was induced in the rats. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot cuts off the oxygen supply to the brain like the kink in a hose cuts off water flow. Then, later, the clot is released and blood flow returns, which is known as reperfusion.

The size of the stroke in the rats fed blueberry or spinach supplements was half that seen in the brains of untreated rats. Rats fed spirulina-enriched diets had stroke lesions 75 percent smaller than their untreated counterparts. In addition, rats pretreated with the blueberry, spinach or spirulina diets showed greater increases in poststroke movement than the control group.

All the supplemented diets were rich in antioxidants, which scientists say may counteract the burst of free radicals involved in the cascade of brain cell death triggered by an ischemic stroke. An excess of free radicals can damage cellular lipids, proteins and DNA.

The supplemented diets also contained anti-inflammatory substances that may help reduce inflammation-induced injury following a stroke, Dr. Bickford said. When a stroke occurs, immune cells in the brain mount an inflammatory response -- rushing to the site of injury to clear away the dead and dying cells. As a result, nearby healthy nerve cells may suffer collateral damage much the same way firefighters breaking into an apartment to put out a fire in one room may inadvertently cause damage to other rooms.

Teasing out just which beneficial chemicals contained in the blueberries and leafy greens might be reproduced therapeutically in pill form is difficult, Dr. Bickford said. "Whole foods contain multiple nutrients, so there are many different ways these diets could be protecting the brain. From a scientific perspective, it's a package deal."

Dr. Bickford's team is investigating whether rats treated with antioxidant-rich diets following strokes will experience improved recovery. The researchers also plan to study whether combinations of the diets might provide even greater protection against stroke damage than one diet alone.

###

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Veterans Administration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of South Florida Health Sciences Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of South Florida Health Sciences Center. "Antioxidant-rich Diets Reduce Brain Damage From Stroke In Rats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701065550.htm>.
University of South Florida Health Sciences Center. (2005, July 1). Antioxidant-rich Diets Reduce Brain Damage From Stroke In Rats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701065550.htm
University of South Florida Health Sciences Center. "Antioxidant-rich Diets Reduce Brain Damage From Stroke In Rats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050701065550.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins