Monday March 18, 2019

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

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.

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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.

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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

Next Story

Eye Test May Help in Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

Conversely, in the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer's disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

A future non-invasive eye test may allow early detection of Alzheimer’s disease before memory loss kicks in, say a team led by an Indian-origin researcher.

Retina being an extension of the brain, the optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) will check patients’ vision as well as brain health, said the study published in the journal Ophthalmology Retina.

The researchers said that loss of blood vessels in retina would reflect changes in the brain, be it for both healthy people or Alzheimer’s patients.

“We know that there are changes that occur in the brain in the small blood vessels in people with Alzheimer’s disease, and because the retina is an extension of the brain, we wanted to investigate whether these changes could be detected,” said lead author Dilraj S. Grewal, ophthalmologist at Duke University.

Using the OCTA that uses light waves that reveal blood flow in every layer of the retina, the researches checked more than 200 people.

A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

They found that in people with healthy brains, microscopic blood vessels form a dense web at the back of the eye inside the retina — as was seen in 133 participants in a control group.

Conversely, in the eyes of 39 people with Alzheimer’s disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places.

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The OCTA machines, relatively a new noninvasive technology, measures blood vessels that cannot be seen during a regular eye examination.

“It’s possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what’s going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition,” added Sharon Fekrat, ophthalmologist at the Duke University in the US. (IANS)