Supplements derived from apple skins, red wine and turmeric might someday help slow the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s and related diseases, says a new study.
In scientists’ view, a group of chemicals called type-2 alkenes, which are widespread in both the environment and the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, act as major drivers of the disease.
In turn, said chemical neurotoxicologist Richard LoPachin, neutraceuticals of the future could stop these brain-damaging chemicals in their tracks.
Already, LoPachin’s group has developed just such a compound that, in Petri dishes at least, sops up type-2 alkenes and protects nerves from harm.
“If you talk to someone else, they may tell you I’m nuts. We know that humans are pervasively exposed to type-2 alkenes, but nobody has ever considered the possibility that type-2 alkenes in the environment might be involved in Alzheimer’s. It’s a new theory of Alzheimer’s,” Discovery News quoted LoPachin, of the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, as saying.
Alzheimer’s is a multi-faceted disease and efforts to understand it have followed a variety of paths. One line of research focuses on the endings of nerve cells in the brain, which degenerate as the disease progresses.
When that happens, communication among nuerons breaks down, leading to confusion, forgetfulness and other hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
While scientists disagree about what causes nerve-ending degeneration, studies have clearly shown that the progression of the disease itself produces type-2 alkenes in the brain.