By Suzanne Monaghan and Dr. Brian McDonough
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - There may be another health benefit drinking red wine.
Scientists report a so-called "miracle molecule" found in red wine might help improve mobility and prevent falls among older adults. The ingredient is called 'resveratrol.' Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at Duquesne University Jane Cavanaugh says they tested the effect on laboratory mice.
"As these animal age, they lose some of their motor coordination. Very similar as to humans do as they age. And when we gave them out the resveratrol, the older mouse has less loss of motor coordination."
Resveratrol is also found in grapes, blueberries and other dark-skinned fruits.
"We just used blueberries in our study and actually when they eat the whole fruit it's actually more effective than the resveratrol alone and you don't need as much."
A person would have to drink at least a bottle of wine compared to only a handful of fruit to get the same amount.
The finding was presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia on Sunday.
KYW Newsradio Medical Editor Dr. Brian McDonough says, "We already know resveratrol helps reduce inflammation of the body. It helps lower cholesterol and there have been some studies that show it reduces the risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer."
But, Dr. McDonough says its effects on mobility were previously unknown. "This report takes a look at balance issues in the elderly. If there was something out there that could help reduce the incidence of falls it would be critical and certainly beneficial."
Eager to incorporate resveratol-rich ingredients in your diet? Dr. McDonough says it probably wouldn't hurt (although he stresses moderation when drinking any alcohol).
"There's obviously no harm in red grapes, blueberries and nuts and people who drink red wine in moderation seem to do well as well. I really believe at this point you could look at these options. Studies will be done and manufacturers are going to take a look at how they can make a magic pill of some sorts. But at this point you can do a great deal with diet."
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