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Study Highlights Protective Effect Of Sugar On Neurons

May 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Two Canadian college students and their university mentor, curious about the effect of natural substances on neurodegenerative disease, report that, in nematodes (roundworms) at least, maple syrup prevents the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Using nematode worms bred for ALS traits, the researchers added maple syrup to their diet, then compared the effect, hypothesizing that sugar protects neurons. Worms with the lowest concentration of maple syrup – which besides being a sugar also contains antioxidant polyphenols – were paralyzed. The researchers cautioned that humans should not increase their intake of sugar to prevent ALS. The worms only live three weeks, so are spared the long-term effects of increased sugar consumption.
Catherine Aaron et al., "Maple syrup decreases TDP-43 proteotoxicity in a C. elegans model of ALS. ", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 04, 2016, © American Chemical Society
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