New research shows that a compound found in Chinese herbal medicine could aid the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The active compound of tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside, or TSG, is found in the herb Polygonum multiflorum Thunb which has shown signs of reversing both the over-expression of a small protein in the brain known as a-synuclein, as well as reversing the build-up. The results of the study could show new ways to treat the condition.
A-synuclein accumulates which can form insoluble aggregates – these have been linked to several neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Previous studies have found that the cognitive impairments created in the early stages of life, primarily the first four months, develop amyloid plaques in the brain which are visible by 10 months of age. The study involved various techniques to analyse what was happening in the brain, and how elements of it develop or change.
The study involving TSG showed that treatment with this element in the stages between four to ten months showed a far lower level of a-synuclein – the higher the dose, the stronger the effect. This study shows that TSG could help to prevent the toxic effects in the synaptic function as well as stopping it from hindering the cell activity. Dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people across the globe every day and can be worrying and upsetting to both those suffering and others around them. If you think that you might be at risk, or already suffering, with such a disease you should speak to your GP who can run tests. Although this study suggests Chinese or herbal medicines can help this condition, further trials need to take place to determine this is accurate. You should speak to your GP before taking anything that isn’t prescribed, in order to ensure you’re getting the right treatment for your condition.