Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rats! It's Welch's!

The average rat lives for 24 months. A 19 month old rat, therefore, is getting on in months and may well be on its way to becoming a doddering old rodent. In an effort to see if rats could retain their marbles well into their second year, investigators at Tufts University encouraged an aging rattine* group to exclusively drink Concord grape juice from the age of 19 to 21 months. One group knocked back a 50% concoction, another a 10% brew, and a confused final group got no grapes at all.

The half-strength gang excelled at motor skills (the team reported that this group of elderly daredevils were able to hang onto a wire for two seconds longer than all the rest -- suspended perhaps above a pen of hungry cats?). The ten-percenters, on the other hand, mastered a Morris water maze with an ease that shamed their thrashing colleagues, and then they oozed far more dopamine from their striatal slices -- this after they no longer needed their brains to stay afloat -- in a manner not usually seen in aging vermin.

The implications for those of us humans attempting to hang onto our aging brains but not necessarily wires? Dr. John Folts of the University of Wisconsin concludes that "a good antioxidant might be helpful" to old neurons. I don't know about you, but I've switched to Welch's as my a.m. juice du jour.
*Just to prove you can find anything on the internet, check out the discussion on ratty adjectives at Ratty and rat rights.

1 comment:

Mauigirl said...

I love your wry way of writing! "not usually seen in aging vermin." Priceless!

Yes, grape juice sounds like a good idea.

I don't suppose they did the same experiment with red wine? I really want a good excuse to go back to drinking it!