According to this new study from the University of Malta, certain chemicals extracted from the Mediterranean plant varieties hold potential to ease off the degree of neural degeneration, thereby aiding the easy treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, etc.
Sea and its products have always been a great solace for mankind since the early phase of civilization. As one would say the technology is progressing, the contribution to growth always had a quota from the sea as well. Let it be minerals, proteins, or plant products, there was always a great demand for sea products. One such innovation, a couple of plant chemicals from Mediterranean region packs a punch for treating neurodegenerative disorders.
The new study held at the University of Malta spread the light of hope to those patients suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, two major neurodegenerative diseases of the current era. The study is focused on the fact that certain plant metabolites extracted from two prevalent varieties of the native Mediterranean region have the potential to interfere a crucial process, which indeed eases off the symptoms, in the present.
Prickly Pear & Brown Seaweed are those two plants holding the key. The former is a plant from cactus family, which was once native to America, but later introduced to other parts of the world, whereas the later one is a marine alga known as Fucus vesiculosus, which is a popular culinary agent. Their ability to interfere the protein clump formation in the brain might make them a suitable choice for future pharmacology studies.
If you look into a little depth, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, both of these diseases has similarity due to Amyloid fibril clump formation in the brain. The protein clump is a characteristic feature of these neurodegenerative diseases, which slowly affect the brain functions resulting in impaired memory, movement, speech etc. Moreover, the type of amyloid fibrils has recently found to determine the subtype of Alzheimer’s, which might advance the therapeutic approach.
The study consists of a test in which researchers administered the plant extract to brewer’s yeast which was early teemed with protein clump. Upon action, researchers found that the yeast health was improved radically over time which motivated the scientists to test their theory on genetically engineered fruit fly with Alzheimer’s.Results were much more astonishing in fruit flies. The team witnessed a 2 days prolongation in the life span which indeed is a great deal of these one-day flies. (Their lifespan is just one day). Whereas when flies were administered with prickly pear extract, their life span experienced a 2-day addition making it 4, with an 18% improvement in their mobility. The effect of improved life span and reduced disorder symptoms might be due to the ability of plant extracts in interfering the clump formation of two critical proteins the beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein.
This study might serve as the backbone to many future researchers and drug designs. In the near future, neurodegenerative disorder treatments shall experience a betterment since the modern approach targets the pathway causing the disease rather than treating the symptoms. Shedding more light, especially in neuro research might soon push the progress into great heights.
Extracts from two ubiquitous Mediterranean plants ameliorate cellular and animal models of neurodegenerative proteinopathies.
Briffa M, Ghio S, Neuner J, Gauci AJ, Cacciottolo R, Marchal C, Caruana M, Cullin C, Vassallo N, Cauchi RJ.
Neurosci Lett. 2017 Jan 18; 638:12-20. [PMID:27919712]