Eating SESAME SEEDS could reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by preventing neuronal damage, study finds
- Osaka City University experts tested a chemical in sesame seeds on Parkinson’s
- Chemical sesaminol is found in shells discarded in the production of sesame oil
- Tests on mice found the chemical improved dopamine levels and motor function
Consuming a chemical found in sesame seeds can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by preventing neuronal damage that decreases dopamine production, study shows.
Scientists from Osaka City University tested the chemical sesaminol on Parkinson’s cells, as well as feeding it to mice over 36 days to find out what impact it had on dopamine levels and neurons in the brain.
Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder that impairs movement, causes stiffness and can result in a loss of balance, tremors in the hands and slurred speech.
Study authors discovered that sesaminol protected against neuronal damage that caused Parkinson’s disease and believe it could be a cure for the condition.
They found that mice with Parkinson’s that consumed the chemical saw an improvement in dopamine levels, balance and motor function.
The Japanese researchers found their test so promising for reducing the risk of developing Parkinson’s that they are quickly moving to start clinical trials.
Consuming a chemical found in sesame seeds can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by preventing neuronal damage that decreases dopamine production, study shows
PARKINSON’S: THE INCURABLE DISEASE THAT STRUCK BOXER MUHAMMAD ALI
Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, including about one million Americans.
It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.
There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.
Sesame seed oil is a common cooking ingredient for its nutty flavour, and it is made by extracting fatty oils from the seeds and throwing out empty shells as waste.
The Japanese team found that these waste shells had large amounts of the chemical sesaminol.
They tested the chemical on living cells and found it handles the oxidative stress which damages cells.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the free radicals – oxygen-containing molecules – and antioxidants in the human body.
It creates extreme pressure on the cells and causes to components to become unbalanced.
In Parkinson’s nerve cells in the brain, which control movement, break down and die due to oxidative stress, so reducing the stress can prevent the disease.
In a literal instantiation of the age-old adage ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, researchers discovered that a chemical called sesaminol, abundant in this waste, has protective effects against oxidative stress.
‘Currently there is no preventive medicine for Parkinson’s disease’, states OCU Associate Professor Akiko Kojima-Yuasa, ‘we only have coping treatments’.
Associate Professor Kojima-Yuasa carried out a series of experiments to understand the effects of sesaminol on in vitro and in vivo Parkinson’s disease models.
The team found in cell-based in vitro experiments – those on dead samples – that sesaminol protected against neuronal damage by promoting the rearranging of Nrf2, a protein involved in the response to oxidative stress.
In vivo experiments – those carried out on mice in this case – brought Kojima-Yuasa’s team equally promising results, the professor explained.
The impairment of movement due to Parkinson’s disease is the result of damaged neurons producing less dopamine than is naturally needed.
Scientists from Osaka City University tested the chemical sesaminol on Parkinson’s cell models as well as mice to find out what impact it had on dopamine levels and neurons in the brain
The team showed that mice with Parkinson’s disease models show this lack of dopamine production.
However, after feeding the mice a diet containing sesaminol for 36 days, the research team saw an increase in dopamine levels.
Alongside this, the mice were placed on a rotarod – a performance test of balance and endurance – it revealed a significant increase in motor performance and intestinal motor function among the mice eating sesaminol.
Professor Kojima-Yuasa says this could be the first-eve medicine for Parkinson’s disease and it comes from a completely naturally occurring source.
The team are ready to take their work to the clinical trial phase and connect the consumption/production chain in a way that, as she puts it, ‘prevents diseases with natural foods to greatly promote societal health.’
The findings have been published in the journal Heliyon.
Golf is better than tai chi for improving balance and mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease
Playing a round of golf is better for improving and maintaining balance and mobility in Parkinson’s sufferers than doing tai chi, a new study revealed.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital Boston studied 20 people with moderate symptoms of the central nervous system disorder Parkinson’s.
There are an estimated 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK and one in 37 people alive today in the country are likely to be diagnosed with the condition.
All of the volunteers were were offered 10 weeks of golf or tai chi at no cost and were timed getting up from a chair, walking 10 ft then sitting down again.
They discovered that people who practiced their golf swing at a driving range were quicker and more mobile at the end of the study than those taking tai chi.
Study author Dr Anne-Marie Wills said it was already known that people with Parkinson’s benefit from exercise – but not enough people get the required amount.
‘Golf is popular – the most popular sport for people over the age of 55 – which might encourage people to try it and stick with it,’ she said.
‘We decided to compare golf to tai chi in our study because Tai Chi is the gold standard for balance and preventing falls in people with Parkinson’s.’
There were limitations to the study, as with just 20 participants the numbers were small and they only had them complete the exercise for 10 weeks.