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Beetroot compound may prevent Alzheimer’s

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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Beetroot can help prevent Alzheimer's disease. IANS
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  • Beetroot can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • A compound found in it can also lead to the development of drugs for the disease
  • Betanin found in it can do wonders for the patients of Alzheimer’s

A compound found in beetroot that gives the vegetable its distinctive red colour could help prevent Alzheimer’s, finds a study that could lead to the development of drugs for treating the disease.

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.

Diabetes drug could now treat Alzheimer's disease
Beetroot compounds can help develop a drug for Alzheimer’s disease. IANS

“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.

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.

Also Read: Could diabetes drug cure Alzheimer’s disease?

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. 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.

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.

Pixabay
Betanin present in beetroot can help the patients. Pixabay

“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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Brain’s memory area might be associated with anxiety and depression

Addiction, for example, could be linked to deficits of approach motivation. Anxiety and depression on the other hand could be linked to avoidance behaviours

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Sleep spindles can help in memory retention. Pixabay
Brain's memory can be affected by Depression and Anxiety. Pixabay

An area of the brain, commonly linked with memory and dementia, could also yield important clues about a range of mental health illnesses including addiction, anxiety and depression, a study has found.

The area, known as hippocampus, is a seahorse-shaped structure located deep inside the brain. As part of the limbic system, it plays an important role in memory processing and spatial cognition, including how mammals learn to understand and navigate their environment. Hippocampus have been long known for its role in memory and dementia, especially in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s patients for instance, this region is one of the first areas of the brain to suffer damage.

Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
Anxiety can cause avoidance behaviour. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, revealed that because hippocampus plays a role in basic motivational behaviour, it may also offer important insights into a range of mental health illnesses. Addiction, for example, could be linked to deficits of approach motivation. Anxiety and depression on the other hand could be linked to avoidance behaviours, all of which could manifest itself in this part of the brain, Ito said.

Also Read: Women with larger waistline are at higher risk of anxiety

“Some patients have lesions to certain areas of this part of the brain, so hopefully we can assess them to see what particular aspects of approach avoidance behaviour may or may not be impacted,” the researchers said. IANS

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