Rosemary not only tastes good in culinary dishes such as Rosemary chicken and lamb, but scientists have now found it is also good for your brain. A collaborative group from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham Institute) in La Jolla, CA and in Japan, report that the herb rosemary contains an ingredient that fights off free radical damage in the brain. The active ingredient in rosemary, known as carnosic acid (CA), can protect the brain from stroke and neurodegeneration that is due to injurious chemical free radicals. These radicals are thought to contribute not only to stroke and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimers, but also to the ill effects of normal aging on the brain.
In two expedited publications by The Journal of Neurochemistry and Nature Reviews Neuroscience, the scientists report for the first time that CA activates a novel signaling pathway that protects brain cells from the ravages of free radicals. In animal models, the scientific group, led by Drs. Takumi Satoh (Iwate University, Japan) and Stuart Lipton (Burnham Institute), found that CA becomes activated by the free radical damage itself, remaining innocuous unless needed, exactly what is wanted in a drug. The scientists call this type of action a pathological-activated therapeutic or PAT drug. A pat represents a gentle tap and not the heavy sledge hammer that some drugs produce, including significant side effects in areas of the body where their effects are not needed and not wanted.
This new type of drug works through a mechanism known as redox chemistry in which electrons are transferred from one molecule to another in order to activate the bodys own defense system, said Stuart A. Lipton, MD, PhD, the senior author on the paper and Director, Professor, and Senior Vice President at the Burnhams Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research Center. Moreover, unlike most new drugs, this type of compound may well be safe and clinically tole
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