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PET Study Shows Benefit of Grapes in Stabilizing Brain Metabolism for People with Mild Cognitive Decline

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Twice-a-day consumption of reconstituted grape powder provides significant long-term benefit in preserving cerebral metabolism for people with mild cognitive decline, according to research presented at the recent Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) conference.

Reconstituted grape powder may offer significant benefit for people with mild cognitive decline.

In a study recently presented at the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) conference, researchers examined twice-daily consumption of reconstituted freeze-dried grape powder for one year in preserving brain metabolism.

For the prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, researchers assessed brain metabolism changes via brain positron emission tomography (PET) scans with the F18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) radiotracer and cognitive performance through neuropsychological assessment at baseline, six months, one year and a long-term follow-up, according to the study. The 20-patient cohort (mean age of 74.6) had at least a six-month history of mild or very mild cognitive changes and were referred by clinicians who were experienced in dementia evaluation.

Over the course of one year, the researchers noted no significant metabolic decline in any of the 47 standardized volume of interest (sVOI) areas for study participants in the grape powder cohort. In contrast, the study authors found significant declines of metabolism in 27 out of 47 sVOIs in the placebo group.

For example, patients in the placebo group had a mean metabolic change of -0.153 in the right inferior frontal cortex at one year in comparison to 0.042 in the grape powder treatment cohort. For the left inferior lateral anterior temporal cortex (ilLAT), the placebo cohort had a mean metabolic change of -0.118 in contrast to 0.034 for participants receiving the grape powder. Based on results from the durability phase of the study, the study authors noted a correlation between the metabolism decline in the ilLAT and loss of neuropsychologic performance over 3.33 years.

“ … Subjects in the active grape formulation arm (demonstrated) significant protection from longitudinal loss of cerebral metabolism that was seen in the subjects receiving the placebo formulation over the 12 months of the randomized intervention, which in turn correlated with loss of neuropsychologic performance,” wrote study co-author Daniel Silverman, M.D., Ph.D., a clinical professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA).

(Editor’s note: For related research and video interviews from the 2023 SNMMI conference, click here.)

The study authors also pointed out that statistical parametric mapping and sVOI analysis revealed sustained benefits of the grape powder use at an average of 28 months after the treatment intervention had been completed, according to the study authors.

“ … Subject who had been randomized to consume reconstituted grapes twice daily enjoyed long-term protection from longitudinal loss of metabolism compared with subjects randomized to placebo, as assessed more than two years beyond the last consumed dose of either formulation … ,” added Silverman and colleagues.

Reference

1. Lu JL, Liu SS, Alcantara AR, Varughese DV, Silverman DHS. Prospective, randomized placebo-controlled trial of long-term durability of effect of one year of grape consumption on stabilizing brain metabolism in patients with mild decline in cognition. Poster abstract presented at the 2023 Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting, June 24-27, Chicago. Available at: https://am.snmmi.org/iMIS/SNMMI-AM .

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