(NaturalNews) There's new hope for a natural way to prevent two of the most dreaded conditions that most often hit elders - hearing loss and Alzheimer's disease. According to a new study just published online ahead of print in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, resveratrol, a substance found in red grapes and red wine; known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, may offer protection against hearing and cognitive decline.
"Our latest study focuses on resveratrol and its effect on bioinflammation, the body's response to injury and something that is believed to be the cause of many health problems including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss," the study's lead author Michael D. Seidman, director of the Division of Otologic/Neurotologic Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, said in a media statement. "Resveratrol is a very powerful chemical that seems to protect against the body's inflammatory process as it relates to aging, cognition and hearing."
The researchers pointed out that hearing loss affects approximately one in five Americans. And while hearing typically declines as people age, there's a new and growing younger population facing deafness, too. It turns out that over 12 percent of U.S. troops are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with sustained, significant hearing loss. What's more, this form of noise-induced hearing loss has been found to interfere with sleep and communication. It also raises the risk for heart disease by increasing a person's blood pressure and raising the "bad" forms of cholesterol in the blood as well as blood sugar.
For their new study, the Henry Ford Hospital researchers zeroed in on how the inflammatory process impacts aging, cognition and hearing loss. Conducting experiments with healthy rats, they identified the potential protective mechanism of resveratrol following noise exposure by measuring its effect on cyclooxygenase-2 (or COX-2, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain) protein expression and formation of reactive oxygen species - which, under excess stress, can cause significant damage to cell structures.
The experiments showed that the rats who were given resveratrol before being exposed to loud noise for a long period of time were far less likely to suffer long-term effects of noise-induced hearing loss. Resveratrol was found to significantly reduce reactive oxygen species formation, inhibit COX-2 expression and reduced hearing loss as well as mental decline in the animals.
About the author: Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.