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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Herbal Bacopa monnieri and Alzheimer's disease

Posted by Chantel Martiromo 

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder correlated with major reductions of neurons to the respective target areas and named after German physician Alois Alzheimer. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing cognitive modalities severe enough to affect language communication, memory, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer's gets worse over time, and it is fatal. 
According to statistic, over 25 million people in the world today are affected by dementia and most are suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It may be results of  cigarette smoking, midlife high blood pressure and obesity, diabetes, and cerebrovascular lesions) and the possible beneficial roles of psychosocial factors (eg, high education, active social engagement, physical exercise, and mentally stimulating activity)(1) Strong evidences emerged in epidemiological studies suggested that certain herbs(2) may have potential in reduced risk and treatments of Alzheimer's disease but geographic source of the plant material, climatation, and time of harvest may effect their effectiveness. It is understandable that commercially available herbal medicinal products with the same herbal ingredients vary in their content and concentration of chemical constituents when compared between manufacturers.

Bacopa  monnieri  is a genus Bacopa, belonging to family Plantaginaceae, native to the wetlands of southern India and Australia. The herb has been used in Indian traditional medicine as a neurological tonic and cognitive enhancer.
In intracerebroventricular administration of colchicine induced cognitive impairment in rats, Bacopa  monnieri decreased in activity of antioxidant enzyme, reversed memory impairment and altered activity of membrane bound enzymes(35). Other study of Bacopa monnieri extract indicated an improvement of   the escape latency time (p<.01) in Morris water maze test with reduction of neurons and cholinergic neuron densities were also mitigated(36). Researchers at the suggested that Bacopa monnieri may be effective in improving memory performance and exerted protective effects against AD by increasing expression or activity of Na⁺, K⁺-ATPase.Na⁺-K⁺-ATPase which plays an important role in AD, and may be a potent neuroprotective modulator against AD(37).

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(1) Epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease: occurrence, determinants, and strategies toward intervention. by Qiu C, Kivipelto M, von Strauss E.(PubMed)
(2) The Use of Herbal Medicine in Alzheimer's Disease—A Systematic Review by Leopoldo Luiz dos Santos-Neto,1 Maria Alice de Vilhena Toledo,2 Patrícia Medeiros-Souza,3 and Gustavo Almeida de Souza(PubMed)
(35) Neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in experimental model of dementia by Saini N, Singh D, Sandhir R.(PubMed)
(36) Cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in Alzheimer's disease model by Uabundit N, Wattanathorn J, Mucimapura S, Ingkaninan K.(PubMed)
(37) Na⁺-K⁺-ATPase, a potent neuroprotective modulator against Alzheimer disease by Zhang LN, Sun YJ, Pan S, Li JX, Qu YE, Li Y, Wang YL, Gao ZB.(PubMed)

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