Scientists are working hard to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and a newly conducted study on mice might offer a silver lining for humans as well.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a diet containing compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice. Although the scientists said the current treatment couldn’t be translated to human patients as it is right now, they claim that plant-based supplements might offer protection against dementia in humans.
Senior author Terrence Town, a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, said the research increases hope to treat and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s instead of waiting for a designer drug to come to the market in 10 years. “I find that very encouraging,” he added. In their research, the scientists focused on two compounds EGCG, or epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which can be found in green tea and FA, and ferulic acid, which is found in carrots, tomatoes, rice, wheat and oats.
The study was conducted on 32 mice that show Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. The scientists divided them into groups of four and added a healthy mouse in each group for the comparison. For three months, the mice consumed a combination of EGCG and FA, or EGCG or FA only or a placebo. The dosage was 30 milligr
am per kilogram of body weight – a dosage well tolerated by humans and easily consumed as part of a healthy, plant-based diet or in the form of supplements.
After three months following the diet, scientists ran the mice through a battery of neuropsychological tests that are roughly analogous to the thinking and memory tests that assess dementia in humans. The tests showed that the sick mice that received the compounds did as well as the healthy mice in the tests.
According to the article published in Science Daily, the substances’ prevented amyloid precursor proteins from breaking up into the smaller proteins called amyloid beta that gum up Alzheimer patients’ brains. In addition, the compounds appeared to reduce neuroinflammation and oxidative stress in the brain – key aspects of Alzheimer’s pathology in humans.
Town said he and his lab would continue exploring combination treatments, with a focus on plant-derived substances that inhibit production of the sticky amyloid beta plaques.