EVOO is known to be good for the brain, where earlier studies have also shown that it can reduce risk of dementia development. It protects memory and preserves the ability to learn. It also stops the formation of the amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles within the brain.
Domenico Pratico MD, Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology at LKSOM, said that the benefits of Mediterranean diet has been studied previously in details but this is the first time that rather than the fruits and vegetables component of the diet, olive oil was found to be more beneficial for brain health.
For the study, the researchers took a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease known as the triple transgenic model. Pratico explained that there is a process called autophagy by which the cells break down and clean the toxins and the resultant debris including the amyloid plaques and the tau tangles that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. In their experiment when the mice were fed extra virgin olive oil rich diets, the levels of autophagy rose. As such it reduced the levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau significantly.
It was noted that mice on the extra virgin olive oil rich diets did better at the tests that looked at their working memory, spatial memory, and tested their learning abilities. At end of the study, brain analysis of mice on the oil diet showed "synaptic integrity", which refer to connections between the nerve cells of the brain. This integrity was lacking in those without the olive oil diet.
Their study was published in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.