Page last updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Red wine may help prevent stroke damage
Red wine might work to protect the brain from damage after a stroke and drinking a couple of glasses a day might provide that protection ahead of time, research has recently reported.

In an effort to better understand how red wine works, the scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore fed mice a moderate dose of a resveratrol (found in red grape skins and seeds before inducing stroke-like damage). They discovered that the animals suffered less brain damage than similarly damaged mice who were not treated with resveratrol.

“When we pre-treat the animals with the compound orally, then we observe that we have a significant decrease in the area of stroke damage by about 40%,” said Sylvain Dore, the lead researcher for the study.

Dore and his research team presented their results from the study, which was funded in part by the U.S. government, at a Society for Neuroscience conference in Atlanta.

“What is unique about this study is we have somewhat identified what can be the specific mechanism,” in the wine that is good for health, Dore said. “Here we are building cell resistance against free radical damage.”

The study showed that resveratrol increases levels of an enzyme in the brain - heme oxygenase - that was already known to shield nerve cells from damage.

Dore said the beneficial effects associated with drinking a moderate amount of red wine could be explained by the fact the wine turns on the heme oxygenase anti-oxidant system.

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