By Stephen Daniells, 23-Feb-2009 - Source: Beverage Daily
Extracts from blueberries may reduce the size of tumours primarily found in infants and children, and improve survival, suggest new findings from a study with mice.
According to new results from the Ohio State University, mice fed the blueberry extract doubled their lifespan, and had tumours 60 per cent smaller that in control mice.
Writing in the current issue of the journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, the researchers report their findings against tumours in walls of blood vessels called hemangionendotheliomas (HE), which affect about 3 per cent of children. Such tumours usually occur within four weeks of birth and more often affect premature infants. Although such tumours are often resolved naturally, they may reoccur and cause deformity, and can be life-threatening if they obstruct the airways.
“This work provides the first evidence demonstrating that blueberry extract can limit tumour formation by inhibiting the formation of blood vessels and inhibiting certain signalling pathways,” said lead author Gayle Gordillo.
“Oral administration of blueberry extract represents a potential therapeutic strategy [against] endothelial cell tumours in children.”
The research could boost further the healthy image of the berry, already firmly engrained in consumer's minds for its apparent cholesterol lowering abilities, as well as indications that the fruit could offer protection from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Sales of the fruit have been booming, going from £10.3m (€14.9m) in 2003 to almost £40m (€58m) in 2005, according to UK supplier BerryWorld, driven by dieticians and scientists hailing the fruit as one of nature's superfoods.
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