A compound found in common foods such as red grapes and peanuts may help prevent age-related decline in memory.
Resveratrol has been widely touted for its potential to prevent heart disease, but Shetty and a team that includes other researchers from the health science center believe it also has positive effects on the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is critical to functions such as memory, learning and mood.
Because both humans and animals show a decline in cognitive capacity after middle age, the findings may have implications for treating memory loss in the elderly. Resveratrol may even be able to help people afflicted with severe neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
In a study published online Jan. 28 in Scientific Reports, Shetty and his research team members reported that treatment with resveratrol had apparent benefits in terms of learning, memory and mood function in aged rats.
"The study provides novel evidence that resveratrol treatment in late middle age can help improve memory and mood function in old age," Shetty said.