In­testi­nal gas: A new health­care ther­apy?

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

The same com­pound that makes flat­u­lence smelly could ac­tu­ally pos­sess some heal­ing prop­er­ties.

Sci­en­tists at the Univer­sity of Ex­eter in the U.K. have cre­ated a new com­pound called AP39. The sub­stance re­leases mi­nus­cule amounts of hy­dro­gen sul­fide—the pun­gent gas as­so­ci­ated with rot­ten eggs and, um, cut­ting the cheese—into dam­aged mi­to­chon­dria, which are the en­ergy pro­duc­ers of cells. Early re­sults in­di­cated the tar­geted use of hy­dro­gen sul­fide helped strug­gling cells stay alive.

“(Hy­dro­gen sul­fide) is nat­u­rally pro­duced in the body and could in fact be a health­care hero, with sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions for fu­ture ther­a­pies for a va­ri­ety of dis­eases,” Mark Wood, an or­ganic chemist at the Univer­sity of Ex­eter, said in a re­lease.

A re­search model in­volv­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, for ex­am­ple, showed more than 80% of mi­to­chon­dria cells sur­vived per­ilous con­di­tions when treated with AP39. The smelly com­pound could also help with the treat­ment of arthri­tis, di­a­betes, de­men­tia and stroke.

The re­search was pub­lished in Medic­i­nal Chem­istry Com­mu­ni­ca­tions— pre­sumes with straight faces and no Out­liers jokes made.

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