Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Rosemary Herb Prevents Stroke & Alzheimer's Disease

Scientists have found that an active ingredient in rosemary herb, which is used as flavouring in culinary dishes, may protect the brain from ameliorating neurological conditions like stroke and Alzheimer"s disease.

The ingredient known as carnosic acid provides such protective effects by keeping injurious chemical free radicals at bay, say collaborators from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham Institute) in La Jolla, California, and Iwate University, Japan.

According to the researchers, these free radicals not only contribute to stroke and Alzheimer"s, but also to the ill effects of normal ageing on the brain.

Writing about their findings in two expedited publications by The Journal of Neurochemistry and Nature Reviews Neuroscience, the researchers have revealed that carnosic acid activates a novel, signalling pathway that protects brain cells from the ravages of free radicals.

Dr. Takumi Satoh of Iwate University and Dr. Stuart Lipton of Burnham Institute led experiments on animal models, and found that carnosic acid becomes activated by the free radical damage itself, remaining innocuous unless needed, exactly what is wanted in a drug.

The scientists call this type of action a “pathological-activated therapeutic" or PAT drug.

A “pat" represents a gentle tap and not the heavy sledge hammer that some drugs produce, including significant side effects.

“This new type of drug works through a mechanism known as redox chemistry in which electrons are transferred from one molecule to another in order to activate the body"s own defense system," said Dr. Stuart A. Lipton, the senior author on the paper and Director, Professor, and Senior Vice President at the Burnham"s Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research Center.

“Moreover, unlike most new drugs, this type of compound may well be safe and clinically tolerated because it is present in a naturally-occurring herb that is known to get into the brain and has been consumed by people for over a thousand years," added the researcher.

Dr. Takumi Satoh, a visiting professor from Japan who worked on this project at the Burnham, and Dr. Lipton have filed a United States patent application for a whole series of novel compounds that show increased benefits over rosemary itself.

“This is not to say that Rosemary chicken is not good for you, but it means that we can do even better in protecting the brain from terrible disorders such as Alzheimer"s and Lou Gehrig"s disease, perhaps even slowing down the effects of normal aging, by developing new and improved cousins to the active ingredient in rosemary," said Dr. Satoh.

The researchers believe that such drugs can be developed for people over the next few years.

The findings have been revealed in two expedited publications by The Journal of Neurochemistry and Nature Reviews Neuroscience. (ANI)


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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