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Cheers to the Health Benefits of Grape Seeds

Dr. Paul Durham

Over the last several years, wine enthusiasts have cheered over the revelation that red wine has positive health benefits. While many assumed it was the grapes, skins and juice providing the antioxidants, the grape seeds took the back seat - until now.

Dr. Paul Durham, distinguished professor of biology at Missouri State University, and Jessica Cox, graduate student in Durham’s lab, share the good news about their recent National Institutes of Health funded study in grape seed extract.

Durham, who also is the director of the Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences within the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, said, "We wanted to see if there really was some truth to it. Can it work to decrease inflammation in pain pathways? And the bottom line was that it worked incredibly well."

Durham says that in addition to testing MegaNatural, a commercially available product, the team decided to collaborate with the vineyards at Missouri State's Mountain Grove campus to expand the study.

"What we wanted to do is go back to our roots so to speak, and see whether or not we would actually be able to isolate the compounds that would be as effective as to what they were getting from the Healthy Origins product," he said. "We've literally got a ton of material from the Mountain Grove campus." 

After learning about the isolation process with some collaborators from San Diego, Durham's team hopes to be able to produce their own grape seed extract.

Up next: Bandages with grape seed extract

Seeing how beneficial grape seed extract could be when taken in capsule form, they're now testing it in bandage dressings.

It's not the lab's first venture into this arena. They had previously worked on projects that would help those injured heal faster by having a bandage that had medicine built into the fabric. Durham explains the outcomes.

"What we've done is we've actually partnered up with Peter Grossman, a plastic surgeon out of the Kansas City and LA area. Basically we're making bandages that actually incorporate the grape seed extract in them," he said. "We had done some lab experiments to show that this was probably going to be a very beneficial type of thing to add to a wound dressing, but we've been very pleased that it's working with these burn victims."

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work in the office of strategic communication. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State.
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