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Dementia News: Plant Which holds 'elixir of life' could delay Alzheimer’s disease symptoms

Views: 17     Author: Golden Horizon (Chengdu) Technology Co., Ltd.     Publish Time: 2017-01-25      Origin: Golden Horizon (Chengdu) Technology Co., Ltd.

Experts have revealed extracts of the prickly pear and brown seaweed could delay the effects of Alzheimer's disease.


Researchers added the plants could also help improve mobility by a fifth for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.


Current research argues the disease is caused by a built up of proteins in the brain which are commonly known as ‘plaques’. This build up can damage the nervous system.


A study has found plant extracts could stop the build up of these toxins into plaques and tangles which kill off brain cells.


Professor Dr Neville Vassallo at the University of Malta School of Medicine and Surgery said: "We have long been screening plants scattered across the Mediterranean for small molecules that interfere with the build-up of toxic protein aggregates.


"The robust effects of chemicals derived from the prickly pear and brown seaweed confirm that our search has certainly not been in vain."


The study first tested the effect of the plant extracts on brewer's yeast brimming with beta-amyloid clumps, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.


After exposure to the chemicals, the health of the yeast improved dramatically.


Researchers analysed the molecules on fruit flies which had been genetically modified to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.


Flies treated with seaweed extract had their lifespan prolonged by two days but a four-day addition was observed when prickly pear extract was used.


Experts said one day in the life of a fruit fly is equivalent to around one year in humans. The mobility of the flies improved by about 18 per cent after treatment.


Scientists also discovered that the substances prolonged the lifespan of flies with brains overloaded with a protein linked with Parkinson’s disease.


Results showed the plant-derived molecules interfered with the build up of both proteins.


Dr Ruben Cauchi, lead author of the study, added: “We believe that the discovery of bioactive agents that target pathways that are hit by multiple neurodegenerative conditions is the most viable approach in our current fight against brain disorders.


"A clear advantage of the drugs used in this study is that, in view of their excellent safety profile, they are already on the market as nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals.


He added: "If the findings hold in clinical trials, the Mediterranean is set to become a source for the 'elixir of life.'"


The study was published in the journal Neuroscience Letters.

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