If you’re a fan of green tea and carrots and don’t want to get Alzheimer’s Disease, you’re going to love the new study University of Southern California researchers have been working on.
Green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin-2-gallate (EGCG), and carrots are one food that contains ferulic acid (FA). Scientists believe these two compounds might work together to prevent proteins from forming clumps in the brain and blocking the proper function of neurons. If they’re right, the compounds, and the plants that contain them, could be used to alleviate symptoms and slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
The team studied the effects of the two compounds, EGCG and FA, on mice’s ability to complete tests similar to those which would be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in a human. Some of the mice were given just EGCG or FA, while others were given both, and still others were given neither. An equal number of male and female mice were placed in each of these groups, and all were given the same tests to complete.
After three months of the treatment, mice with Alzheimer’s-like symptoms that had been treated with both compounds had their spatial working memory completely restored. They were able to find their way out of a maze just as well as healthy mice, an ability that had been impaired before.
The researchers warn that studies on mice rarely translate directly to medical answers for humans, but the study could open new avenues for the development of inexpensive plant-based treatments for people that might help slow down the disease. Because Alzheimer’s disease does not currently have any sort of cure or long-term treatment, any way to stave off the disease for a short while is worth it to give patients extra time with high quality of life.
“You don’t have to wait 10 to 12 years for a designer drug to make it to market; you can make these dietary changes today,” said study author Terrence Town, a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the Keck School of Medicine. “I find that very encouraging.”
For now, like Town mentioned, it might not be a bad idea to load up on green tea and carrots when you can. Or you can replace them with other foods containing the compounds, such as oats, wheat, rice, and tomatoes, all of which contain FA.
We can’t wait to see where the future of this research takes us. Check out the video below for the full news story.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?