Mediterranean Plants May Help Brain Diseases
From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.
In the future, chemicals from plants found in and around the Mediterranean may be used to help treat people with brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
These two diseases are age-related and neurodegenerative. Neurodegenerative relates to the degeneration of nervous tissue, especially the brain.
People suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's have deposits of sticky plaque in their brains. Over time, this plaque reduces brain function. Eventually, it causes death.
Scientists say plaque can be reduced
But scientists say the plaque deposits can be reduced with chemicals from plants, including prickly pear and brown seaweed. Scientists say the chemicals — or, extracts — appear to replace the harmful, sticky plaque with deposits that are less harmful.
These scientists are researchers at the University of Malta and the National Center of Scientific Research at the University of Bordeaux.
They tested the chemical extracts of the plants on a substance called Brewer's yeast. This yeast had plaque deposits similar to those seen in Alzheimer's disease. Scientists say the health of the yeast improved greatly after exposure to the chemical extracts.
Researchers then tested the extracts in fruit flies that were genetically changed to develop symptoms of Alzheimer's.
They found that when the flies were given brown seaweed extract, their lifespans increased by two days. Prickly pear helped the insects live four days longer.
That may not sound like a long time. However, the researchers remind us that one day in the life of a fruit fly is equal to one human year.
Researchers also noted that movement in some diseased insects improved.
They reported their findings in the journal Neuroscience Letters.
The best way to fight neurodegenerative diseases
Researchers say that the sticky plaques in both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases appear to form through the same biological pathways. Targeting these pathways, they say, is the best way to fight the diseases.
The lead author of the study is Ruben Cauchi of the University of Malta's Center for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking. He says the Mediterranean plant extracts are already used in health foods and some cosmetics. So, they are very safe.
The research team is working with a company that extracts the chemicals for commercial use as so-called "fountain of youth" products.
And that's the Health & Lifestyle report.
I'm Anna Matteo.
1.brain diseases 脑部疾病
EEG can accurately reflect many brain diseases, especially for seizures, more accurate diagnosis.
2.appear to 似乎；好像
I appear to have mislaid my jumper.
3.prickly pear 仙人掌
The invasive prickly pear cactus in Australia was controlled by bringing in an Argentinean cactus moth.
4.lead author 首席作者
The lead author, Susan Harkema, is a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the university.
论文主要作者苏珊·哈柯玛（Susan Harkema）是该校神经外科系的一名教授 。
1.Over time, this plaque reduces brain function. Eventually, it causes death.
Over time 随着时间流逝
Over time, the technology is diffused and adopted by other countries.
Over time she internalized her parents 'attitudes.
2.However, the researchers remind us that one day in the life of a fruit fly is equal to one human year.
be equal to 等于
The happiness you feel is equal to the love you give.
This is a nominative absolute structure, which is equal to a conditional clause.
这两种疾病是和年龄相关的神经变性疾病 。神经退行性疾病与神经组织、尤其是脑部的退化息息相关 。
这两种疾病的患者脑部会出现粘性斑块的沉积物 。这种斑块会逐渐降低大脑功能，最终会导致死亡 。
科学家称，从仙人球和褐藻等植物中提取的化学物质可以减少这种斑块沉积物 。这些化学物质或提取物似乎能够用危害较轻的沉积物代替有害的粘性斑块 。
他们从一种名为“布鲁尔氏酵母”中提取了酵母进行检测 。这种酵母与阿尔茨海默病症中的斑块沉积物类似 。科学家介绍，接触到植物中的化学物质后，这种酵母的健康程度明显提高 。
他们发现，接受了褐藻提取物疗法后，果蝇的寿命延长了2天 。而仙人球提取物疗法能够将果蝇的寿命延长4天 。
虽然时间听起来不长 。然而，研究人员提醒大家，果蝇一天的寿命相当于人类一年的寿命 。
这一研究的主要作者是马耳他大学医学和生物银行中心的鲁宾·考基（Ruben Cauchi） 。他说，地中海植物提取物在保健食品和化妆品中被广泛应用，所以成分很安全 。