London [UK]: Dementia is considered to be one of the fastest-growing health burdens across the globe, with one person developing the disease every 3 seconds.
Many surveys estimated that 50 million people worldwide live with dementia and by the year 2050, this number is expected to reach 131.5 million.
Surprising statistics, such as these, highlight the desperate need for new ways to prevent and treat dementia.
And it looks like scientists might have discovered a potential new treatment for dementia.
In a recent study, a group of researchers has found that blueberry vinegar could help stall this devastating symptom of dementia.
The study found it to improve short-term memory in mice with amnesia and suggests the effects could be experienced in humans too.
For the experiment, the researchers provided 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 a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein associated with maintaining and creating healthy neurons.
Additionally, some studies have shown that the fermentation process can increase the bioactivity of natural compounds.
The scientists also wanted to see how the treatment affected the intelligence of the mice. For that, the researchers analysed 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 results showed that treated rodents had improved performance in both of these tests, stating that the fermented product improved short-term memory.
According to the authors of the study, "Fermented products, such as vinegar, might act to preserve the phenolic compounds that are easily oxidized during food processing and that are impacted by factors such as maturity, storage, and processing."
The researchers noted that further studies are needed to confirm whether blueberry vinegar would be beneficial to humans.
The study was published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.