Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ginkgo Extract Has Multiple Actions on Alzheimer Symptoms

26.08.2008
Maryland School of Pharmacy researchers are learning how Ginkgo biloba extract works on memory symptoms.

Scientists have known for more than 10 years that a certain extract from leaves of the ancient eastern tree, Ginkgo biloba, can somewhat ease symptoms of memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Now, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy are learning how the popular extract actually works in Alzheimer’s patients.

Understanding the biochemical workings of the ginkgo extract could help doctors expand treatment options for other medical conditions. A synergy, or the combination of separate actions by the Ginkgo extract, common in herbal remedies, may be the key to its effectiveness, says Yuan Luo, PhD, associate professor at the School of Pharmacy.

In ongoing studies, a research team led by Luo found that giving mice with the human Alzheimer’s gene the ginkgo extract called Egb 761 improved the process of making new nerve cells in part of the brain much affected by the disease. The team found evidence that the protective effect of the extract also could be due to decreasing senile plaques or the clumping of beta-amyloid in the brain tissues. Amyloid is part of a protein and a central factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently Alzheimer’s disease is causing progressive dementia and sometimes death in about four million Americans, mostly people older than 70. In the U.S., the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease has steadily increased as the average life span has lengthened. Currently, there are no drugs with disease-modifying or preventive properties. However, the School of Pharmacy study and others are now suggesting that many of the symptoms can be avoided or significantly reduced.

The disease starts with loss of nerve connections and broken circuitry of nerve signals in synapses. Modern neuropathology studies beginning in the 1960’s revealed that adults create new nerve cells continually in learning regions of the brain. One of the regions of neurogenesis is in the hippocampus, important to memory and cognition. Luo’s study demonstrated the dual effect of Ginkgo extract in the hippocampus—enhanced making of nerve cells and decreased clumping in brain tissue.

“By finding out how it works, it might help drug discovery researchers and doctors learn how other herbal and conventional drugs work on in multiple ways,” said Luo. When herbal medicines are effective, she said, it’s often because of a synergy of different biological effects. “Alzheimer’s disease is caused by multiple factors, not just one thing that has gone wrong.” Therefore, drugs that target multiple sites would be most efficacious, she added.

Results from the School of Pharmacy experiments, slated to continue for at least another year, provide a rationale for future medicinal chemistry and for identifying other potentially efficacious compounds with desirable activity as potential therapeutic agents to prevent and/or treat Alzheimer’s disease, according to Luo.

Meanwhile, to confirm or refute the theory that medicine made from Ginkgo biloba can prevent or delay changes in memory, thinking, and personality as people get older, researchers are currently analyzing data from a five-year clinical trial, The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. About 3,000 people at four clinics, including one in Hagerstown, Md., participated.

Luo’s research team is focused on aging, age-related neurodegenerative diseases, and neuroprotective mechanisms. While disease prevention theories associated with herbal medicine have the potential to both increase quality of life and reduce health care costs, ways that extracts of herbs work in the body are still poorly understood, she says.

Steve Berberich | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umaryland.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>