That's News

By Steve Barrett
Monday, May 1, 2017

Component of Chicory May Combat Alzheimer’s

An acid in chicory could reduce impaired memory among people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, according to research in The FASEB Journal.

Scientists injected mice with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce amyloidogenesis and memory impairment. Beta-amyloid proteins have been linked to Alzheimer’s. Another group of mice received LPS and chicoric acid (CA).

In learning and memory tests, mice that received LPS and CA performed significantly better than those that received only LPS, according to scientists at Northwest A&F University in Yangling, China.

“Chicoric acid mitigated lipopolysaccharide-induced amyloidogenesis and memory impairment via inhibiting [the] NFκB signal pathway, suggesting that chicoric acid supplementation might be a plausible therapeutic intervention for neuroinflammation-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease,” says Xuebo Liu, PhD, a researcher involved in the work.

Chicoric acid is also present in dandelion, lettuce and other plants.

Zeroing In on Stress-related Cardiovascular Risk

A study in The Lancet links increased activity in the area of the brain associated with stress to heightened risk for stroke and heart disease. That could eventually alter approaches to reducing cardiovascular risk related to stress, researchers say.

Of 293 patients in the study, 22 experienced heart attack, angina, heart failure, stroke or peripheral arterial disease during an average 3.7-year period over which they were tracked. Patients with greater activity in the amygdala were at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than were those who had less activity. In addition, they developed those conditions earlier.

“Our results provide a unique insight into how stress may lead to cardiovascular disease,” lead author Ahmed Tawakol, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, stated in a news release about the findings. “This raises the possibility that reducing stress could produce benefits that extend beyond an improved sense of psychological well-being.”

Dopamine Receptor Deficit Linked to Inactivity

The burden of extra body weight may be a component of inactivity among people who are obese, but research published in Cell Metabolism suggests dopamine receptors could also play an important role.

Scientists provided mice a high-fat or a standard diet over an 18-week period. However, even before mice on the high-fat diet had gained most of their weight, they moved less and more slowly, leading investigators to suspect that higher weight alone was not the cause of less activity.

They also discovered deficits in the D2 dopamine receptors among the obese mice.

“There are probably other factors involved as well, but the deficit in D2 is sufficient to explain the lack of activity,” Danielle Friend, first author and a former postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, stated in a news release regarding the findings.