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Improve memory? "Science Advances" reveals the new potential of Rhodiola plants

Views:15     Author:Ellie     Publish Time: 2019-03-19      Origin:Site

In an aging society, more and more people are suffering from memory impairment. The gradual loss of memory has seriously affected their quality of life. So far, no drugs have prevented age-related cognitive decline.

Recently, a new article in 
"Science Advances" revealed the potential use of a medicinal plant: Scientists have discovered that a natural compound in Rhodiola rosea can improve brain function and improve memory.


Along with aging, more and more people are experiencing memory impairment. A severe memory decline can affect the quality of life and even threaten life safety. To date, no drugs have prevented age-related cognitive decline.

 Improve memmery

Now, scientists from the Leibniz Institute have demonstrated for the first time that the plant's active ingredient, Rhodiola, can enhance memory.


Rhodiola is a Rosaceae plant that has long been thought to be associated with increased intelligence. The author of the article, Birgit Michels, and the team tried to identify the specific substances in the plant that could improve memory, because only the key active ingredients were identified to make drug development possible.


Initially, the research team modeled Drosophila larvae and collaborated with scientists at the International Institute of Plant Biology (IPB) for phytochemical analysis. Finally, they isolated the ferulic acid eicosyl ester (FAE-20) and determined that it had an enhanced memory effect.

“While FAE-20 is a simple chemical molecule, identifying it as an active ingredient in plant extracts and correlating it with cognitive abilities is not easy,” said IPB professor Ludger Wessjohann.


Recent studies have found that the addition of FAE-20 to Drosophila foods improves the improvement of 1/3 of the memory of aged fruit flies compared to the control group. At the same time, FAE-20 also prevents age-related proteins from accumulating at the synapses. Subsequently, they obtained a similar effect on the mouse model - FAE-20 increased the excitability and memory of CA1 neurons in the hippocampus of the brain.


They found that FAE-20 improves animal memory, both natural and synthetic. Moreover, synthetic FAE-20 can also partially improve age-related memory decline in adult fruit flies, as well as genetic factors leading to loss of early memory function in young fruit flies.


In summary, at least animal models have shown that FAE-20 is a compound that helps improve the memory of the elderly. It is worth noting that the use of memory enhancers poses a risk under healthy conditions. Next, scientists will work toward clinical trials to link them to Alzheimer's disease.


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