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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

Beetroot can help prevent Alzheimer's disease. IANS
  • 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.

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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Treating Diabetes May Also Prevent People From Developing Alzheimer’s Disease: Study

In addition, nearly 530 participants had normal blood sugar levels while 250 had prediabetes

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

Treating Type-2 diabetes may prevent people from developing Alzheimer’s disease, says a new study.

Patients with untreated diabetes develop signs of Alzheimer’s disease 1.6 times faster than people who did not have diabetes, according to the study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Scientists consider Alzheimer’s as the result of a cascade of multiple problems including factors ranging from pollution exposure and genetics to heart and metabolic diseases.

“It is possible that the medicines for treating diabetes might make a difference in the progression of brain degeneration,” said Daniel A. Nation, Associate Professor at University of Southern California.

“But it’s unclear how exactly those medications might slow or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, so that is something we need to investigate,” he added.

Cognitive Impairment
Alzheimer’s disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer’s. VOA

For the study, the researchers analysed data on nearly 1,300 people aged 55 and older.

Data included biomarkers for diabetes and vascular disease, brain scans and a range of health indicators, including performance on memory tests.

Among 900 of those patients, more than 50 had Type-2 diabetes who did not receive any treatment, whereas nearly 70 were undergoing treatment.

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In addition, nearly 530 participants had normal blood sugar levels while 250 had prediabetes.

“Our findings emphasise the importance of catching diabetes or other metabolic diseases in adults as early as possible,” Nation said.

“Among people with diabetes, the difference in their rate of developing the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s is clearly tied somehow to whether or not they are on medication for it,” he noted. (IANS)