The findings suggest that cranberries can aid recovery from stroke, particularly in its earliest stages, in which the most severe damage occurs, the researchers say. Their study, which they claim is the first to demonstrate a link between cranberries and protection from stroke, was described today at the 226th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
"This study shows that cranberries have the potential to protect against brain cell damage that occurs during a stroke event," says Catherine Neto, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and a lead investigator in the study. "It may not stop a stroke from occurring initially, but it may reduce the severity of stroke," she says.
Neurons from the brains of several rats were collected for this study. After placing the neurons in tissue culture, millions of cells were grown and then divided into different treatment groups with varying concentrations of cranberry juice. Under simulated conditions of stroke, exposure to cranberry juice was found to have a statistically significant effect in reducing brain cell death, the researcher says.
Although animal and human studies are needed to confirm the findings, the study offers a compelling reason for recent stroke victims and those at risk for stroke to consume cranberries, Neto says.
Until those studies are done, nobody knows the amount of cranberries or cranberry juice people should eat or drink to have an optimal effect against stroke, she adds. Other studies have shown that cranberries