Jerusalem: Cinnamon, one of our kitchen’s spices, can be useful in keeping away Alzheimer.  According to a recent study, Cinnamon when consumed in appropriate quantity can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

A team of Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers, headed by Prof Michael Ovadia, have succeeded in extracting a substance from cinnamon that is capable of inhibiting the formation of toxic ß-amyloid polypeptide oligomers, which disassembles ß-amyloid fibrils, whose accumulation in the brain cells kills the neurons in Alzheimer's patients, a university press release said.
    
However, the researchers have warned people not to rush to consume large quantities of raw cinnamon (more than 10 gms per day) as it also contains substances that are toxic to the liver.
    
The idea seeking the medicinal properties of cinnamon came to Ovadia's mind by way of a biblical passage that explains the use of a holy ointment by the high priests – a preparation that presumably was meant to protect them from infectious agents.
    
Several life sciences faculty laboratories are said to have participated in the study and the research findings were recently published in the science journal 'PLoS ONE'.
    
Ovadia had found in the course of a past research that an extract from the bark of the cinnamon plant possesses the ability to inhibit the infectivity of 'enveloped' viruses, such as influenza, herpes, HIV and others.
    
A later study showed that the same extract also inhibits the accumulation of the ß-amyloid (Aß) polypeptide assemblies that cause neuron destruction and result in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

In the first stage of the study, the researchers demonstrated the ability of the cinnamon bark extract to inhibit formation of the toxic intermediate ß-amyloid
oligomers and of Aß fibrils.
During the course of the study it also became apparent to the researchers' surprise that the extract was able to disassemble large intermediate oligomers and Aß fibrils that had already formed.
    
Thus, the extract may retroactively correct damage that has already occurred, meaning that should it eventually be used prophylactically against Alzheimer's disease, it might also be useful in restoring functions impaired by the accumulation of oligomers or fibrils.
    
In the second stage of the study the researchers tested the substance on experimental animals commonly used in Alzheimer's research - fruit flies genetically altered to produce the Aß peptide, and transgenic mice with five mutations that lead to the rapid development of Alzeimer's.
    
Alzheimer's disease shortens the affected animals' lifespan and causes either a reduction in their normal activity or induces aggressive behaviour.

When the cinnamon extract was added to the flies' food or to the drinking water of the mice, it inhibited the development of Alzheimer's - subsequently the treated animals resembled healthy members of their species, both behaviourally and in terms of longevity, the study found.

(Agencies)