Wine has gotten more than its share of Miracle Product mainstream media coverage so it's no surprise that beer has been left behind - smooth, balanced beers, the kind of thing that made large brands famous, are out of fashion and now everyone wants hoppy drinks, or something else wildly exaggerated.

But beer has always been a science favorite. Sometimes you hear of breakthroughs being celebrated with a bottle of Mogen David, though it is rare.

Beer needs some science and medicine rehabilitation and it may come soon, thanks to research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It also will keep the hoppy hipsters behind the modern craft beer craze happy, because the study finds that a compound from hops could protect brain cells from damage -- and potentially slow the development of disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 

If you are going to get Parkinson's, you won't know for 20 years, so it is better to start preventing it now. Credit: shutterstock

Jianguo Fang and colleagues say mounting evidence suggests that oxidative damage to neuronal cells contributes to the development of diseases that originate in the brain. If scientists could find a way to guard these cells from this type of damage, they might be able to help prevent or slow down Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

One compound found in hops, called xanthohumol, has gotten the attention of researchers for its potential benefits, including antioxidation, cardiovascular protection and anticancer properties. 

Fang's team decided to test xanthohumol's effects on brain cells. In lab tests, they found that the compound could protect neuronal cells and potentially help slow the development of brain disorders.

The scientists conclude xanthohumol could be a good candidate for fighting such conditions.