A study conducted by New York researchers have found that grape seed polyphenols, an antioxidant, may help prevent the development or delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Giulio Maria Pasinetti, The Saunders Family Professor in Neurology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine headed the research which is the first of its kind and examines the ability of grape-derived polyphenols to prevent the generation of a specific form of beta-amyloid peptide, a substance in the brain long known to cause the neurotoxicity associated with Alzheimer disease.

Along with a team spearheaded by Karen Hsiao Ashe at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Pasinetti and his colleagues administered grape seed polyphenolic extracts to mice genetically determined to develop memory deficits and beta-amyloid neurotoxins similar to those found in Alzheimer's disease.

The study concluded that the brain content of the beta-amyloid *56, a specific form of beta-amyloid previously found to contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease memory loss, was substantially reduced after treatment.

Since naturally occurring polyphenols are also generally commercially available as nutritional supplements and have negligible adverse events even after prolonged periods of treatment, this new finding holds significant promise as a preventive method or treatment, and is being tested in translational studies in Alzheimer's disease patients, Pasinetti says in a statement.

The study was published online in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.