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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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A Landmark Study Links Herpes 6 and 7 with Alzheimer’s Disease

The findings also showed multiple points of overlap between virus-host interactions and genes associated with Alzheimer's risk

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A Landmark Study Links Herpes 6 and 7 with Alzheimer's Disease
A Landmark Study Links Herpes 6 and 7 with Alzheimer's Disease. (IANS)

Scientists have found up to two times higher level of human herpes virus among people with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting the potential role of the viruses in the development of the progressive brain disorder.

Herpes virus causes contagious sores, most often around the mouth or on the genitals.

The study found unusually increased level of human herpesvirus named human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7 ) in the brains of the people with Alzheimer’s than those without the disorder.

“The hypothesis that viruses play a part in brain disease is not new, but this is the first study to provide strong evidence,” said Richard J. Hodes, Director from the US National Institutes of Health.

“Our work identified specific biological networks that offer new testable hypotheses regarding the role of microbial defense and innate immune function in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s,” said Joel Dudley from the Institute for Next Generation Healthcare at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

alzheimers
Patient of Alzheimer’s. Pixabay

The findings also showed multiple points of overlap between virus-host interactions and genes associated with Alzheimer’s risk. Multiple viruses impact the biology of Alzheimer’s disease across domains such as DNA, RNA and proteins.

“If it becomes evident that specific viral species directly contribute to an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s or their rate of progression once diagnosed, then this would offer a new conceptual framework for understanding the emergence and evolution of Alzheimer’s at individual, as well as population, levels,” Dudley explained.

In the study, published in the journal Neuron, the team initially performed RNA sequencing on four brain regions in more than 600 samples of postmortem tissue from people with and without Alzheimer’s to quantify which genes were present in the brain, and whether any were associated with the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Also Read: Parkinson’s Identified Gene to Combat Alzheimer’s

Using different computational approaches, the team uncovered a complex network of unexpected associations, linking specific viruses with different aspects of Alzheimer’s biology.

They examined the influence of each virus on specific genes and proteins in brain cells, and identified associations between specific viruses and amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and clinical dementia severity.

Further, they incorporated 800, RNA sequencing samples and observed a persistent increase of HHV-6A and HHV-7 in samples from individuals with Alzheimer’s. (IANS)