“Can Maple Syrup and Blueberries Improve Brain Function?”

Medical headlines are making wild claims again, with titles such as “Maple Syrup May Protect Brain From Alzheimer’s And Other Neurodegenerative Disease” and “Blueberries May Boost Memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment.” Really? The key word is “may.” Once again, associations are being equated with causation. The maple syrup story goes like this. So-called scientists examined the results from 24 different studies that were focused on promoting a healthy brain through diet, and a pattern began to emerge. Researchers found real maple syrup — the kind that comes from the sap of a maple tree — may help prevent two types of proteins found in brain cells from clumping together. When these cellular proteins, beta amyloid and tau peptide, improperly fold and accumulate together they form plaque in the brain, which is a root cause of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. The only problem is that it has never been definitively proven that these proteins are the cause of Alzheimer’s. If that is not bad enough, the same article further makes the totally unsupported claim that maple syrup “may” prolong the patient’s lifespan. Puhleeze! Researchers suspect the phenol concentrations found in maple syrup may be the key ingredient, but don’t you believe it.

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