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UNT Insider | April 2013 issue | Can grapes provide the juice to slow Alzheimer's disease?

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Can grapes provide the juice to slow Alzheimer's disease?

From a UNT News Service press release

Richard Dixon

Richard Dixon

A team of researchers have embarked on a study to determine how grape seed extract slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease, which attacks the memory, thinking and behavior of mostly people age 65 and older.

Richard Dixon, UNT Distinguished Research Professor of biological sciences, has joined a research team involving Mount Sinai's Ichan School of Medicine (MSSM) and Purdue University investigating how grape seed compounds affect Alzheimer's disease.

Dixon's work is funded by a National Institutes of Health grant through MSSM, and will continue the first-of-its-kind study indicating that grape seed compounds help to prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease in mice.

"The current research shows that these compounds do slow the progression of the disease, and now we are working to have an explanation -- to have proof -- of exactly what activity is happening in the brain," says Dixon, a world-renowned specialist in metabolic engineering of plants. "Having that explanation will allow us to say, for the first time, that grape seed extract does slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, and here's why."

Dixon's lab will develop synthesized versions of the grape seed-derived compounds that actually reach the brain, and researchers at Purdue University will then compare the synthesized and natural compounds to verify that they are exact matches. Dixon also will create a standardized procedure other researchers will rely on to develop and test these compounds in the future.

Leslie Wimmer with UNT News Service can be reached at

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April 2013

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