Current Affairs

Chemicals from Mediterranean plants reduce symptoms of Parkinsons and Alzheimers

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Chemicals from marine, prickly pear and brown seaweed plants in the Mediterranean have been found to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimers and Parkinsons. This emerged from a study carried out by a number of researchers, including Maltese researchers from the University of Malta. The University said in a statement that this research was revolutionary for medicine, and could lead to treatment for illnesses related to ageing.

Alzheimers and Parkinsons are illnesses tied to ageing, which generally manifest themselves as a result of the accumulation of proteins in the body which eventually damage the nervous system. These then effect a person’s mobility and memory. These illnesses are very painful, besides being also a burden on the health service. The results of this research can therefore make a great difference to patients’ lives if a treatment is discovered for these illnesses.

Professor Neville Vassallo, who worked on this project, said the researchers started their experiments on yeast. When they saw the positive results they then decided to try out the experiments on flies. Flies infected with Alzheimers and Parkinsons for this experiment started to live longer when treated with chemicals from these plants. Professor Vassallo said the flies’ mobility improved by 18% after the treatment.

Dr Ruben J. Cauchi, who conducted these studies, said researchers believe the discovery of bio-active agents which work on neuro-degenerative conditions is the best way to fight mental conditions. Dr Cauchi added that the great advantage of medicines used in this study was that they are safe and already on the market. Researchers, Dr Cauchi stated, are presently working with the Institute of Cellular Pharmacology, and once clinical trials are concluded the Mediterranean can become a source of how one can improve the lives of the elderly.