Researchers have made another health breakthrough in the area of Alzheimer’s disease, and this time, we look to Chinese herbal medicine for answers. In a study done on mice, researchers found that a natural chemical within a particular herb might help slow down or even treat Alzheimer’s disease.
The compound is called “tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside” (TSG), and it is found within the herb Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. The study found that TSG reduced the amount of a protein (α-synuclein) found in the brain, which in high levels is linked to dementia.
In mice, we’ve learned that α-synuclein increases with age, it builds up in the hippocampus, and it is implicated in several conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
First, in a series of experiments, researchers found that certain plaques and proteins tend to build up in the hippocampus, which may at least partially account for cognitive impairment. Then they found that TSG combated this build-up, reducing the “expression” of the problematic protein α-synuclein.
In other studies, this group of researchers found that TSG appears to improve learning and memory in aging rats that are either healthy or at high risk of dementia. While we still need to figure out how TSG works, this latest breakthrough opens up a new area of research.
What we might have here is an herb whose actions might do battle with Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps lead to brand new strategies in dealing with this condition that is inflicting a rising burden on society.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
This Chinese Herb May Battle Alzheimer’s
Zhang, L., et al., “Tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside antagonizes age-related α-synuclein overexpression in the hippocampus of APP transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease,” Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience February 2013.