Cranberries May Fight Stroke Damage
Cranberry Extract Might Aid in Stroke Recovery
Sept. 8, 2003 -- Cranberries may deserve a larger role in a
healthy diet rather than occasional beverage or turkey sidekick. A new study
shows cranberry extract may actually prevent stroke-related brain damage and
aid in stroke recovery.
Researchers found that a concentrated cranberry extract reduced
brain cell death by as much as 50% when given immediately after a stroke in
The results of the study were presented this week at the 26th
National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C.
"This study shows that cranberries have the potential to
protect against brain cell damage that occurs during a stroke event," says
researcher Catherine Neto, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth,
in a news release. "It may not stop a stroke from occurring initially, but
it may reduce the severity of stroke."
Berry Early Findings; More Study Needed
In the study, researchers compared the effects of various
concentrations of cranberry extract on rat brain cells in the lab under
conditions that were similar to those found during a stroke.
They found that the highest concentration of cranberry extract
caused a 50% reduction in brain cell death after a simulated stroke compared
with no treatment at all.
Researchers say it's the first study to suggest a link between
cranberries and stroke prevention and recovery.
They say further studies are under way to isolate the
particular compounds in the cranberry extract that are responsible for the
beneficial effects. Once that compound is identified, it could then be used to
develop a stroke-fighting drug or supplement.
Until that study is completed, researchers say they don't know
exactly how much cranberry juice or cranberries are needed to provide a
protective effect or aid in stroke recovery.
But in the meantime, the National Institutes of Health advises
that there are other proven ways to reduce the risk of stroke, such as:
- Lower your blood pressure if it's above normal.
- Quit smoking.
- Keep diabetes and heart disease in check through medical treatment and
leading a healthy lifestyle.