purdue university college of consumer and family sciences
campus images
November 2007

Foods and Nutrition Department looking for answers to Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention


The Purdue University-University of Alabama Botanical Center for Age Related Diseases is collaborating with Mt Sinai Medical Center in New York to study the protective role of grape-derived polyphenols in Alzheimer’s disease.  The Center is funded by a five year, 6.3 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health for a Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  The Center is directed by Dr Giulio Pasinetti from Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Dr Connie Weaver from the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue.  This multi-institutional effort includes participants from the University of Illinois, Rutgers, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, The Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders, UCLA, Texas A&M and 5 Purdue University investigators in the department of Foods and Nutrition, Food Science, Chemistry, and from Discovery Park.

There is some evidence from animal models of Alzheimer’s disease that grapes and grape-derived products such as wine may be beneficial in preventing or ameliorating Alzheimer’s disease.  In Alzheimer’s disease certain abnormal proteins form in the brain.  These are proteins which join together to give rise to plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Grapes and wine contain many bioactive compounds called polyphenols.  This study will attempt to determine which of these compounds or combination of compounds may be beneficial. One project will focus on the prevention of the formation of the proteins; the second will focus on the dissolving the proteins which have formed and the third will focus on preventing these abnormal proteins joining together to form plaques. To find the most effective compounds or combinations, studies will begin with whole grapes and wine and move to separated fractions to determine the active components. 

In addition to the projects, there are research cores to support the work of the projects.  An analytical core will determine which polyphenols are in the different grape fractions. An in vivo Core will test the different polyphenols or combinations in animals to determine how well they are absorbed and get to the brain. The Purdue Botanical Center will provide these core facilities.

For more information about the Botanical Center, visit their website or send an e-mail to botanicals@purdue.edu.

Healthy Body Image

group of teenagersMaintaining a healthy body image is one of the most important drivers of self-esteem among young people.  Social pressures often play a major role is shaping how children view themselves.  To help educate young people and their caregivers about a healthy body image, Steve McKenzie, M.Ed., Continuing Lecturer in the Foods and Nutrition Department and Interim Administrator for the A.H. Ismail Center for Health, Exercise, and Nutrition developed materials related to healthy body image for young people, caregivers, and educators.    

The materials are now available on the Purdue University Consumer and Family Sciences Extension website.  The goal of these documents is to help teach the importance of a healthy body image to young people, their parents, grandparents and others who work with them.  Two of the documents are in the form of lesson plans to be used with middle school or high school aged audiences.  These materials may be used with a variety of groups including, but not limited to school health and physical education classes, 4-H groups and Boy or Girl Scout groups.  Each set of materials is based on sound nutritional advice from experts with agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Dietetic Association.  Physical activity recommendations are based on guidelines established by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Cooper Clinic.  Emphasis is placed on healthy eating and physical fitness rather than on body weight and physical appearance.

A third document titled: “Healthy Body Image: Being an Advocate for Your Child or Grandchild” is aimed at helping adults who serve as role models for children to better understand the issues surrounding body image.  A companion document for each of the other three titled:  “Healthy Exercises for Every Body” is provided to help everyone understand the components of a safe, health-related exercise program.  Many exercises are illustrated along with detailed instructions on how to properly perform them.

These body image materials may be accessed through the following URL addresses:

Healthy Body Image:  Being an Advocate for Your Child or Grandchild: http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-735-W.pdf

Healthy Body Image:  A Lesson Plan for Middle School Students: http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-736-W.pdf

Healthy Body Image:  A Lesson Plan for High School Students: http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-737-W.pdf

Healthy Exercises for Every Body: http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/CFS/CFS-738-W.pdf

For more information on the body image materials contact Steve McKenzie at mckenzies@purdue.edu.


Purdue Extension logo

Foods & Nutrition Department
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Phone: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674

Copyright © 2005, Purdue University, all rights reserved.
An equal access/equal opportunity university.
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4600