Red Wine and Red Grapes Help Protect Against Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Previous research has shown that a chemical compounds found in certain wine and grapes can reduce the risk of heart disease, but a new study has found that those compounds may also protect against hearing loss and cognitive decline. According to researchers from the Detroit based Henry Ford Hospital, consumption of the chemical resveratol may preserve hearing and prevent cognitive decline. Resveratol is found in high concentration in red wine and red grapes, though smaller amounts are found in other foods such as blueberries. 

Lead author Michael D. Seidman stated the group’s study focused on “resveratrol and its effect on bioinflammation, the body's response to injury and something that is believed to be the cause of many health problems including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss." The researchers set out to discover the effects of resveratrol on COX-2, an enzyme in the body responsible for inflammation and pain. The scientists conducted an experiment on laboratory rats in order to test this. 

Knowing that excessive noise exposure causes an uptick in COX-2 expression, some of the animals were administered resveratrol before being exposed to the noise. The researchers found that the subjects who had consumed the resveratrol beforehand experienced an inhibition of COX-2 expression- and consequently suffered significantly less hearing loss. Because the study has only been conducted in animals, further research is needed to confirm whether the findings also apply to humans.