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Blueberry vinegar improves memory in mice with amnesia

Cognitive Improving Effects by Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium crymbosum L.) Vinegar on Scopolamine-Induced Amnesia Mice Model
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Dementia affects millions of people worldwide, robbing them of their ability to think, remember and live as they once did. In the search for new ways to fight cognitive decline, scientists report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that blueberry vinegar might offer some help. They found that the fermented product could restore cognitive function in mice.

Recent studies have shown that the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, have lower levels of the signaling compound acetylcholine and its receptors. Research has also demonstrated that blocking acetylch oline receptors disrupts learning and memory. Drugs to stop the breakdown of acetylcholine have been developed to fight dementia, but they often


don’t last long in the body and can be toxic to the liver. Natural extracts could be a safer treatment option, and some animal studies suggest that these extracts can improve cognition. Additionally, fermentation can boost the bioactivity of some natural products. So Beong-Ou Lim and colleagues wanted to test whether vinegar made from blueberries, which are packed with a wide range of active compounds, might help prevent cognitive decline.

To carry out their experiment, the researchers administered blueberry vinegar to mice with induced amnesia. Measurements of molecules in their brains showed that the vinegar reduced the breakdown of acetylcholine and boosted levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein associated with maintaining and creating healthy neurons. To test how the treatment affected cognition, the researchers analyzed the animals’ performance in mazes and an avoidance test, in which the mice would receive a low-intensity shock in one of two chambers. The treated rodents showed improved performance in both of these tests, suggesting that the fermented product improved short-term memory. Thus, although further testing is needed, the researchers say that blueberry vinegar could potentially be a promising food to help treat amnesia and cognitive decline related to aging.

Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.


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Squeezing oil from stone

In many oil wells, especially newly drilled ones, natural subsurface pressure suffices to expel oil from the pores of oil-bearing rock. To squeeze out more oil, companies have long injected water into wells. Despite the effectiveness of that practice, geophysicists don’t know exactly how the oil and pressurized water interact. To investigate, physicist Denis Bartolo of École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, France, and his team built a miniature oil field: an array of interconnected 80-μm-wide channels imprinted in a layer of transparent resin and flooded with silicone oil. The researchers injected dyed water through the structure, varying the flow rate to mimic the range used in real wells. The results reveal that whereas faster water injection moves more oil per unit time, a lower flow rate extracts more oil per unit water volume.