Another rea­son to eat sprouts

Health: Nu­tri­ent in love-or-hate veg­etable com­bats neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - FRONT PAGE -

Love them or loathe them, brus­sels sprouts will be on most Christ­mas ta­bles this weekend.

And now, sci­en­tists at Aberdeen Univer­sity have re­vealed the fes­tive veg­eta­bles could of­fer a way of tack­ling Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

The sprouts con­tain a nu­tri­ent which they be­lieve com­bats neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders, in­clud­ing de­men­tia.

They are in the process of cre­at­ing a su­per­charged ver­sion of the acid pro­duced by vi­ta­min A-rich veg­eta­bles such as sprouts, car­rots, spinach and toma­toes.

And tri­als could be­gin in the next two years.

In the hu­man body, vi­ta­min A is turned into retinoic acid, which then in­ter­acts with spe­cific re­cep­tors and plays a vi­tal role in the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem.

It is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for the eye and brain as the em­bryo is de­vel­op­ing.

In the adult brain, the acid is be­lieved to play a dif­fer­ent, more “fo­cused” role with sug­ges­tions it could af­fect neu­ral dis­or­ders, both de­gen­er­a­tive and psy­chi­atric.

Pro­fes­sor Peter McCaf­fery, of Aberdeen Univer­sity, 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. “We are ba­si­cally try­ing to cre­ate a mas­sively am­pli­fied ver­sion of what vi­ta­min A al­ready does for the body.

“By ex­ploit­ing the nat­u­ral con­se­quences of retinoic acid by cre­at­ing a syn­thetic al­ter­na­tive, we hope to be able to cre­ate a new ther­a­peu­tic which could be used to help peo­ple with Alzheimer's dis­ease."

His team and ex­perts at the Univer­sity of Durham and chem­i­cal devel­op­ment com­pany High Force Re­search are in­volved in a £250,000 two-year project, 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.

The fa­mil­iar re­frain “eat your greens” is some­thing most of us have grown up with, but it is amaz­ing how many sci­en­tific ex­perts un­der­line the im­por­tance of this home­spun di­etary ad­vice to our health.

Re­searchers at Aberdeen Univer­sity have re­vealed sprouts, which are par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar at Christ­mas, could of­fer a way of tack­ling Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Sprouts con­tain a nu­tri­ent which they be­lieve com­bats neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders, in­clud­ing de­men­tia.

Given that Alzheimer’s dis­ease has be­come one of the big­gest med­i­cal chal­lenges fac­ing us to­day, those most at risk and their fam­i­lies de­serve as much help as pos­si­ble.

EAT YOUR GREENS: Eat­ing brus­sels sprouts may be a way to help avoid de­men­tia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.