Brain-Boosting Grapes 

Grape juice and whole grapes are tested for brain function, including cognitive decline in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

In 2010, the first controlled trial was published that examined How the brain responds to grape juice. She helped the old rats, but what about the people? “Concord Grape Juice Supplementation Improves Memory Function in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment,” or so the title says. The problem is that the study was funded by Welch’s, and although the authors claim they have no financial interest in the outcome, that seems disingenuous. I mean, do you think Welch’s would fund them again if they found out grape juice wasn’t good for you? And in fact, that title is a bit of an industry spin. I’m sure that’s what they wanted to find.

Older adults with memory impairment (but not dementia) were randomly assigned to a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with Concord grape juice versus a Kool-Aid-type drink of similar appearance and taste with the same calories and the same ingredients. sugars. That’s a solid study design. And berries have those wonderful polyphenol phytonutrients, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, so they certainly could help brain function and seemed to help with verbal learning, as you can see in the graph below and at 1:21 of my video Friday Favorites: Brain Health Benefits of Grapes.

The probabilities that get Such notable results simply by chance are like 1 in 25, while higher recall scores are not considered statistically significant, since even if there was no effect, you could get those kinds of results by chance 1 in 8 or 10 times. you would run the experiment, as shown in the graph below and at 1:38 in my video. And, by convention, we like at least 1 in 20: a p-value of 0.05 or less, especially if we analyze multiple results, which increases the probability that something arises by chance. The bottom line is that we have less confidence in these memory results. If this study had not been funded by industry, I imagine it would be titled more accurately. Perhaps “Concord grape juice supplementation improves verbal learning in older adults with mild cognitive impairment,” which is still an important finding, and we have the Welch corporation to thank for it. Without industry funding, a study like this may never be done.

The findings suggest that drinking grape juice is superior to drinking a grape Kool-Aid-type drink, not necessarily in helping memory, but perhaps in helping with learning. When the study was repeatedHowever, it did appear to help on a measure of memory, but no benefit was found for verbal learning, even when using the same test as before, casting doubt on previous results. Therefore, we are not sure what effects, if any, grape juice has on the aging brain.

What happens to the brains of middle-aged mothers? The Welch-funded researchers noted significant improvements in a measure of memory and driving performance measured in a sophisticated driving simulator, suggesting that you could stop a dozen meters sooner on the road after drinking grape juice than if you had had a drink instead Grape Kool-Aid type. . I like how they tried to translate the cognitive effects into more meaningful metrics, but it’s important to recognize, as they did, that no effects were found for most of the cognitive consequences. And, when you study 20 different results, the chances of you getting one or two statistically significant results by chance are pretty good, as you can see below and at 3:33 in my video.

The last study involved donation a single dose of one cup of purple grape juice or white grape juice (which had added flavor and color to disguise it) to young adults with an average age of 21 years. This way, the researchers could see if there is something special about those deep purple polyphenolic pigments in Concord grape juice. Your findings? They got the same kind of results: two cognitive measures that barely reached statistical significance, but that’s among seven different results, as you can see below and at 4:12 in my video. So instead of a p-value of 0.05 as the limit of significance, we would really like to see closer to 0.007, and none hit that. Maybe it’s because they didn’t use whole foods like in the blueberry study I described earlier.

There was a study that I look on actual grape consumption using freeze-dried grape powder to capture the entire food (rather than just the juice) versus a sugar-matched placebo. Researchers used PET scans to track changes in brain metabolism associated with early Alzheimer’s in a group of older adults who already suffered from mild cognitive impairment. Although changes could not be detected in neuropsychological tests, in those regions with early-stage Alzheimer’s, the placebo group continued to worsen, but the grape group “avoided such deterioration,” suggesting a protective effect of grapes. You can see these points illustrated in a graph and brain mapping images below and from 5:11 in my video. Can see Locations where brain metabolism decreased after eating six months of placebo grapes (colored red in the video), compared to the level of decrease in a brain after six months of eating real grapes.

When commercial entities fund studies, they do so for marketing rather than scientific purposes. That doesn’t necessarily mean the findings are invalid, but you do have to pay special attention to things like the framing of the research question, experimental methods, statistical analysis, biased interpretation of results, or spin.

The blueberry video I mentioned is Flashback Friday: Benefits of blueberries for the brain. You may also be interested in the Benefits of blueberries for mood and mobility.

What else could help protect brain function? Check out related posts below.

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