Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A tasty medicine?

Strawberries!  They are now so cheap for so much of the year that I'm starting to worry how farmers can possibly be making money out of it without exploiting poor backpackers.

But a compound in them may be good for Alzheimers:
Salk scientists have found further evidence that a natural compound in strawberries reduces cognitive deficits and inflammation associated with aging in mice. The work, which appeared in the Journals of Gerontology Series A in June 2017, builds on the team's previous research into the antioxidant fisetin, finding it could help treat age-related mental decline and conditions like Alzheimer's or stroke.

The Salk team fed the 3-month-old prematurely aging mice a daily dose of fisetin with their food for 7 months. Another group of the prematurely aging mice was fed the same food without fisetin. During the study period, mice took various activity and memory tests. The team also examined levels of specific proteins in the mice related to brain function, responses to stress and inflammation.

"At 10 months, the differences between these two groups were striking," says Maher. Mice not treated with fisetin had difficulties with all the cognitive tests as well as elevated markers of stress and inflammation. Brain cells called astrocytes and microglia, which are normally anti-inflammatory, were now driving rampant inflammation. Mice treated with fisetin, on the other hand, were not noticeably different in behavior, cognitive ability or inflammatory markers at 10 months than a group of untreated 3-month-old mice with the same condition. Additionally, the team found no evidence of acute toxicity in the fisetin-treated mice, even at high doses of the compound.
Speaking of Alzheimers, last night's Four Corners was a sad case study of a few examples of people living with it in Australia.  It is a terrible disease, especially with the early onset variety.


John said...

The study is behind a paywall. I suspect the amount of strawberries you'd have to eat would be impossible and as it is near impossible to remove pesticide residues of strawberries a net negative.

There are genetically modified animals. We can cure so many conditions in rats and mice I regard with great skepticism about clinical translation of these animal studies.

Steve said...

Stop ruining my good tasting plans for a healthy brain, John.

True, the article didn't indicate anything about dose you could get from eating fresh strawberries, and maybe it could only ever work as a concentrated supplement.

As for being able to cure more things in rats and mice than humans - maybe the future is to have mice dna crispr-ed into us so mice treatments will work. :)

John said...

Lots of different coloured plant foods Steve, best way to go. While many are now discounting the risks of high saturated fat I still think that is a problem. Omega 3 is a good idea and use premium quality high concentration omega 3's unlike those typically sold in chemists and supermarkets. Mind you we don't need that much omega 3's in our diet so eating oily fish all the time might even be a negative because those fats are so easily oxidised. Fish has other benefits: iodine, taurine are important. NEVER fry fish, worse than no fish at all.

Get some exercise Steve. Seriously, even brisk walking in the midday sun is great: vitamin D, circadian stabilisation, and oxygenating the brain. It's boring I know but we gotta do it. If you spend all day sitting at a desk, get up every 45 minutes, walk for 10, return.

Pardon my cynicism, I've been reading studies of this nature for so long and being beguiled by so many claims only to realise years later so much of it was wrong. Be well.

Steve said...

If you spend all day sitting at a desk, get up every 45 minutes, walk for 10, return.

Not great for productivity!

John said...

It might be, a study 2 weeks ago found the most productive were those who did take regular breaks. I don't accept the 17 minutes break, too long, but prolonged sitting does reduce blood flow to the brain and our brains are not particularly well suited to prolonged periods of concentration or sitting. Regular breaks allow a refresh. It depends on the individual. Long ago I was seconded to a department to help with a backlog. I would work for 50 minutes than have 10 minute break. My supervisor was initially concerned about this but monitored my performance and stated I was doing much more work than everyone else and with very low error rates.