BLUEBERRIES CAN CURE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE? Pseudoscience Assignment

  • A link to the treatment, or pseudoscientific claim

http://www.naturalnews.com/053606_blueberries_Alzheimers_disease_superfood_antioxidants.html

  • A summary of the alleged evidence supporting such claim

The article discusses how blueberries are ‘able’ to cure Alzheimer’s disease since it is known as a superfruit, which has the ability to ‘neurtralize radicals’. One of their ‘credible sources’, FitDay, proclaims that “blueberries are also thought to reverse short-term memory loss, and their antioxidants can improve motor skills”. The article also claims that blueberries can protect against cancer and chronic heart disease. The other half of the article focuses on how turmeric powder is also an “Alzheimer’s-fighting superfood”, which is demonstrated by their credible source – themselves. A study in an Indian journal named Ayu stated that the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was up five points after one year of treatment, supposing by the turmeric. The article then concludes that “the benefits of natural treatments for Alzheimer’s are undeniable, and these studies show that we should always look to Mother Nature as well as modern medicine when treating disease”.

  • A summary of the signs of quackery present in the piece

There are many signs of quackery present in this article. Firstly, the sources that the author cited within the article are from other articles written on the same website. When I found this article, it was advertised with the claim of “DEMOCRATS DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW THIS”, which is a big red flag, making this pseudoscience. Another sign of quackery in this piece is that it only speaks about blueberries and it’s so-called relation to Alzheimer’s disease for less than a paragraph, it instead focused on how blueberries is a miracle cure to chronic heart disease and cancer. The article also switched to an irrelevant topic about how turmeric powder can also cure Alzheimer’s disease. However, all of the so-called doctors, such as “Robert Krikorian, PhD” is not even cited properly to an article where he ‘said’ that blueberries help cognitive function. Furthermore, the ‘studies’ that they used as evidence in the article are not cited either, not within the article or in their source list. I was also surprised to see an actual journal in the source list; however, it had nothing to do with the article whatsoever. This list could go on, but I believe the biggest piece of quackery would be that there were no real scientific processes involved to prove any of their claims, even though it is repeated throughout the article that “many studies show”, with no real evidence nor citations at all.

  • Any scientific evidence debunking it

There has not been much research on this, since it is somewhat of an unordinary claim. However, the doctor who they cited in the article, Dr. Robert Krikorian, actually said that “the MRI results also were not as striking for those receiving blueberry powder” for his research study. Dr. Krikorian concluded, “these preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration”, meaning his results were inconclusive.  In fact, the only researcher that has done a study on this was Dr. Krikorian, who even published an article titled “Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults”, meaning that this cannot be fully debunked until there is more evidence.

  • Your conclusions: would you recommend this treatment, is it dangerous, is it misleading/unethical? 

I spent an entire school year researching Alzheimer’s disease, and I have read many well written articles from academic journals showing how the intake of certain vitamins, such as Vitamin E, can improve memory; however, each article stated how their research is inconclusive. Although it would not hurt to eat blueberries since they are healthy and provide many nutrients, and although it may be possible that it improves memory due to those factors, that does not mean that it should be your only ‘treatment’ for Alzheimer’s disease or any other neurodegenerative disease. The reasoning behind why blueberries are a ‘natural treatment’ for Alzheimer’s disease since it is a ‘super fruit’ seems ridiculous to me, since they could make the same claim about any other fruit, they all have their benefits, but they should not replace medical treatments to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s (approved by the FDA) such as Donepezil and Memantine.

  • Cite any sources you may have used.

–       http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/12192732/Blueberries-may-help-present-Alzheimers-new-research-suggests.html

–       http://www.naturalnews.com/053606_blueberries_Alzheimers_disease_superfood_antioxidants.html

–        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850944/

–       http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_disease_treatments.asp

 

Official Brown University Link: https://blogs.brown.edu/neuroscience2016sec1/2016/07/28/blueberries-can-cure-alzheimers-disease/

 

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