Preliminary research suggests that cranberry may reduce severity of stroke
EAST WAREHAM, MA (September 15, 2003) – Every 45 seconds, someone in America experiences a stroke. This week, researchers announced that compounds in cranberry may potentially offer a way to reduce stroke damage. A preliminary rat cell tissue study – led by principal investigator Dr. Catherine Neto at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, who presented the findings at the American Chemical Society meeting in New York – suggests that cranberry may protect against the brain cell damage that occurs during a stroke. According to the study, cranberry may reduce the stroke's severity via an antioxidant mechanism during the early stages of stroke, when the most damage occurs.
According to Dr. Martin Starr, Science Advisor to the Cranberry Institute, "These exciting new findings suggest that exposure to a concentration of cranberry extract equivalent to approximately half a cup of whole cranberries caused a 50 percent reduction in brain cell death." The study received funding from the Cranberry Institute, Wisconsin Cranberry Board and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Dr. Starr commented, "We are very encouraged by these preliminary trials and intend to sponsor additional research to confirm these findings and determine the implications for human health and nutrition."
Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. When part of the brain dies from lack of blood flow, the part of the body it controls is affected. Stroke can cause paralysis, affect language and vision, and cause other problems. Stroke is the nation's third leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, according to statistics from the American Stroke Association.
Cranberry also has other health benefits, including powerful antioxidant capabilities that may help reduce the risks of heart disease and some cancers. Additionally, cranberry is well known for its capacity to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), and that same unique bacteria-blocking ability may also help inhibit stomach ulcers and even gum disease. While the data on stroke remains preliminary, a great deal of evidence shows that a daily dose of cranberry is a smart addition to the diet for many reasons. Dr. Starr noted, "Researchers from several world class research institutions have demonstrated that this tiny berry packs some tremendous health benefits.
Cranberries definitely belong on the 'A' list of healthy foods we should eat every day, and the variety of forms – including juice, sauce, sweet dried, fresh and frozen – make that a practical option."
The Cranberry Institute, a non-profit organization founded in 1951 to promote education and research, funds exploration into health and medical benefits of cranberries as well as topics related to environmental stewardship. For more information, please visit the Cranberry Institute's Web site at http://www.cranberryinstitute.org.