Posted on 12th January 2017 at 12:17
A pill for Alzheimer’s is on the way thanks to an unlikely source of Brussels sprouts.
The experts from Durham and Aberdeen universities are creating a supercharged version of the acid produced by vitamin A rich vegetables like sprouts, carrots, spinach and tomatoes. Scientists say the festive food contains a nutrient which combats neurological disorders including dementia. Human trials could begin in the next two years!
In the body vitamin A is turned into retinoic acid, which then interacts with specific receptors and plays a vital role in the human central nervous system.
Vitamin A is particularly important for the eyes and brain as the embryo is developing.
In the adult brain retinoic acid is believed to play a different, more 'focussed' role and there are suggestions it could affect neural disorders, both degenerative and psychiatric.
Professor Peter McCaffery, of the University of Aberdeen, explained: ‘When we eat Brussels sprouts it increases the amount of this acid in the brain.
‘We are not saying doubling your portion of sprouts over Christmas will stop you getting Alzheimer's. That would be the wrong message.
‘But they are good for the body, so that means they are good for the brain. The compound we are developing works on exactly the same receptors as the acid from Brussels sprouts.
‘The evidence shows it will boost the number of neurons and the connections between them.’
His team and experts at the University of Durham and chemical development company High Force Research are now set to begin a £250,000 two year project which is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
They have designed synthetic versions of retinoic acid that interact with the body's natural receptors in the brain in an even more powerful way than the regular type.
They hope to progress to therapeutics mainly for Alzheimer's but potentially Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Another unique aspect of the study is the method used to screen the new synthetic compounds, making the process more efficient.
Referance - Daily mail
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