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Eating berries may lower risk of Parkinson’s


February 23, 2011
By Science Daily

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Feb. 23, 2011 – New research shows men and women who regularly eat
berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, while
men may also further lower their risk by regularly eating apples,
oranges and other sources rich in dietary components called flavonoids.

Feb. 23, 2011 – New research shows men and women who regularly eat
berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, while
men may also further lower their risk by regularly eating apples,
oranges and other sources rich in dietary components called flavonoids.

The study was released February 13 and will be presented at the
American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9
to April 16, 2011.

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Flavonoids are found in plants and fruits and are also known
collectively as vitamin P and citrin. They can also be found in berry
fruits, chocolate, and citrus fruits such as grapefruit.

The study involved 49,281 men and 80,336 women. Researchers gave
participants questionnaires and used a database to calculate intake
amount of flavonoids. They then analyzed the association between
flavonoid intakes and risk of developing Parkinson's disease. They also
analyzed consumption of five major sources of foods rich in flavonoids:
tea, berries, apples, red wine and oranges or orange juice. The
participants were followed for 20 to 22 years.

During that time, 805 people developed Parkinson's disease. In men,
the top 20 percent who consumed the most flavonoids were about 40
percent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than the bottom 20
percent of male participants who consumed the least amount of
flavonoids. In women, there was no relationship between overall
flavonoid consumption and developing Parkinson's disease. However, when
sub-classes of flavonoids were examined, regular consumption of
anthocyanins, which are mainly obtained from berries, were found to be
associated with a lower risk of Parkinson's disease in both men and
women.

"This is the first study in humans to examine the association
between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson's disease," said
study author Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, with the Harvard School of Public
Health in Boston. "Our findings suggest that flavonoids, specifically a
group called anthocyanins, may have neuroprotective effects. If
confirmed, flavonoids may be a natural and healthy way to reduce your
risk of developing Parkinson's disease."

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.