You can't drink enough red wine to get the effect, alas, but if they can copy the chemistry, it may help keep seniors from falling so much.
Some interesting research involving resveratrol, the oft-cited red wine health-claim ingredient, was delivered at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadephia last week.
Researchers found that the antioxidant "might help improve mobility and prevent life-threatening falls among older people," according to the ACS release.
The study team tested the coordination of mice on a steel mesh balance beam, and found, predictably, that older mice performed less well than younger mice. Then they started feeding the older mice resveratrol.
"By week four," says ACS, "the older mice made far fewer missteps and were on par with the young mice."
We can understand why readers might be suspicious of yet another red wine health story. But this report sounds sober enough, so to speak; lead researcher Jane E. Cavanaugh isn't promoting a claim for red wine -- "a 150-pound person would have to drink almost 700 4-ounce glasses of red wine a day to absorb enough resveratrol to get any beneficial effects," the release says.
So the team is looking for "similar man-made compounds" that would exponentiate the resveratrol effect sufficiently to provide the benefit. That would be a blessing, as so far Vitamin D and exercise are about the best tools we have for that.