Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
FLORENCE

Olive oil may fight Alzheimer's, Italian study shows

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
Florence, August 27 - Olive oil - especially the
lovingly refined extra-virgin version - has long been known for
its potential health benefits as the elixir in the famed
Mediterranean diet.
But now researchers in Italy say it could also fend off
Alzheimer's Disease and other neurological disorders, allowing
potential sufferers to keep up brain functions much longer than
they would ordinarily have and, crucially, halting the memory
loss that comes with most nerve-wasting conditions, causing so
much grief to victims and their loved ones.
"Extra-virgin olive oil may naturally prevent and reverse
the effects of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological
disorders brought on by aging," Italian researchers told online
science journal Plos One.
Scientists at the University of Florence tested their
theory on mice afflicted with Alzheimer's, treating them with
key nerve-bonding agents called phenols from extra-virgin olive
oil over the course of two months.
"At the end of treatment they showed the absence of the
cognitive and behavioral deficits shown by untreated mice, which
we think is a highly valuable result," chief researcher Massimo
Stefani told Plos One.
Stefani added that the study provides the scientific basis
for the known "anti-aging effects of the Mediterranean diet".
It could help prevent the long-term neurological damage
related to Alzheimer's, a disease for which "there is still no
effective therapy and which poses serious social problems, as
well as threatening the sustainability of the healthcare
system".
Olive oil is already known to protect against high
cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Last year a team in Naples said it "almost certainly"
played an important role in protecting the body against type 2
diabetes, the more heart-threatening type of the disease, which
is often linked to bad eating and lifestyle choices and has a
later onset than type 1.
Researchers at the Italian Diabetes Society at Federico
II University in the southern Italian city found that olive oil
reduces by a third the build-up of fat in the liver due to its
high content of monounsaturated fatty acids.
There is a close relationship between fatty liver disease
and the development or presence of type 2 diabetes, by far the
most common type with three million diagnosed sufferers in Italy
alone.
The researchers say it is sufficient to eat a diet rich in
olive oil and other products containing high levels of
monounsaturated fatty acids for just eight weeks to see a
reduction in liver fat.
Italy produces 21.5% of the world's olive oil, with Puglia
being the biggest harvester.

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