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Blueberries could help heal brain injuries

Danette Dooley
Published Date: 
5 August 2014
The Telegram
Original article: 

It’s been said you can have too much of a good thing. But a researcher at Memorial University’s school of pharmacy says nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to blueberries and other antioxidant-rich fruit found in abundance in this province.

Dr. John Weber and his research team believe berry extracts may be beneficial, not only for cardiovascular health, but to help reduce the effects of some diseases and help people recover from traumatic brain injury.

Weber has been studying the effect berry extract could play in certain diseases.

During a recent telephone interview, he explained his research, saying that glutamate is the major neurotransmitter in the brain and is needed for normal brain processes.

However, glutamate levels may increase in the brain as a result of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

Glutamate is also released rapidly after people suffer traumatic brain injury, Weber said.

“We know that if we add glutamate to cells it does kill a lot of them, but what we found, remarkably, is that if you add various chemical extracts (like those found in berries) to the cells in the presence of glutamate, it protects them dramatically.”


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Rick Hansen Foundation, BC Neurotrauma Fund

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