Cranberries Prevent, Treat Stroke Damage

September 10, 2003

1 Min Read
Cranberries Prevent, Treat Stroke Damage

DARTMOUTH, Mass.--Cranberries may be able to reduce the neuronal damage associated with strokes, according to research out of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. In a paper presented at the 226th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (www.chemistry.org), held Sept. 7 to 11 in New York, researchers said their findings offer a compelling reason for recent stroke victims and those at risk for stroke to consume cranberries.

In the study, researchers administered a concentrated cranberry extract to rat brain cells exposed to simulated stroke conditions. (The stroke was simulated in one of two ways: by depriving cells of oxygen and glucose to mimic ischemic stroke in which brain cells are starved of oxygen and die, or by exposing cells to hydrogen peroxide, simulating the action that takes place following a stroke when oxygen begins to flow to the brain again.) Exposure to the highest concentration of extract, which was roughly equivalent to half a cup of whole cranberries, caused a 50-percent reduction in neuronal death. Those cells not exposed to cranberry experienced no benefit.

"This study shows that cranberries have the potential to protect against brain cell damage that occurs during a stroke event," said Catherine Neto, Ph.D., a study investigator. "It may not stop a stroke from occurring initially, but it may reduce the severity of stroke."

Until more studies are done, the study's authors say it is unknown what amount of cranberries or cranberry juice people should consume to have an optimal effect against stroke. The study was funded by the University of Massachusetts and The Cranberry Institute.

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