Thursday September 20, 2018

Can A Beetroot Compound Prevent Alzheimer’s?

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The findings showed that the compound betanin in beetroot extract could eventually help slow the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain, a process that is associated with Alzheimer's disease. Pixabay
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A compound found in beetroot that gives the vegetable its distinctive red color could help prevent Alzheimer’s, finds a study that could lead to the development of drugs for treating the disease.

“Our data suggest that betanin shows some promise as an inhibitor of certain chemical reactions in the brain that are involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Li-June Ming, from the University of South Florida.

ALSO READ: A ray of hope: Study reveals Alzheimer’s may be caused by misfiring immune system

Beta-amyloid is a sticky protein fragment, or peptide, that accumulates in the brain, disrupting communication between brain cells called neurons.

Much of the damage occurs when beta-amyloid attaches itself to metals such as iron or copper.

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These metals can cause beta-amyloid peptides to misfold and bind together in clumps that can promote inflammation and oxidation — a process similar to rusting — in nearby neurons, eventually killing them. Pixabay

 

Betanin is also used in commercial dyes that readily binds to metals.

The team investigated betanin’s potential to block the effects of copper on beta-amyloid and, in turn, prevent the misfolding of these peptides and the oxidation of neurons.

ALSO READ: Could diabetes drug cure Alzheimer’s disease?

When betanin was added to the copper-bound beta-amyloid mixture, the researchers found oxidation dropped by as much as 90 percent, suggesting that misfolding of the peptides was potentially suppressed.

“We can’t say that betanin stops the misfolding completely, but we can say that it reduces oxidation,” noted Darrell Cole Cerrato from the varsity.

“Less oxidation could prevent misfolding to a certain degree, perhaps even to the point that it slows the aggregation of beta-amyloid peptides, which is believed to be the ultimate cause of Alzheimer’s,” Cerrato explained.

The results were presented at the 255th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. IANS

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Stimulating Brain Cells Stops Binge Drinking

The researchers activated the dopamine neurons through a type of deep brain stimulation using a new technique called optogenetics

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In the experiments, rats were trained to drink alcohol in a way that mimics human binge-drinking behaviour. Pixabay

It is now possible to use gene therapy in the brain to not only treat binge drinking but other substance abuse, neurological diseases and mental illnesses.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found a way to change alcohol drinking behaviour in rodents, using the emerging technique of optogenetics – using light to stimulate neurons.

In the experiments, rats were trained to drink alcohol in a way that mimics human binge-drinking behaviour.

“By stimulating certain dopamine neurons in a precise pattern, resulting in low but prolonged levels of dopamine release, we could prevent the rats from binging. The rats just flat out stopped drinking,” said Caroline E. Bass, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Interestingly, the rodents continued to avoid alcohol even after the stimulation of neurons ended, Bass added.

drinking
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers activated the dopamine neurons through a type of deep brain stimulation using a new technique called optogenetics.

“Optogenetics allows you to stimulate only one type of neuron at a time,” said the study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Also Read- Controlling Diet a Remedy For Metabolic Syndrome

“The results have application not only in understanding and treating alcohol-drinking behaviours in humans, but also in many devastating mental illnesses and neurological diseases that have a dopamine component,” said Bass.

The findings are the first to demonstrate a causal relationship between the release of dopamine in the brain and drinking behaviours of animals. (IANS)

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