Austrian scientists have discovered a natural remedy which could play an important role in the future treatment of dementia.
The scientists from the University of Graz in conjunction with researchers from the Free University of Berlin said the substance "spermidine" stimulates the breakdown of "cellular scrap," ORF reported Monday.
This should aid for instance with memory loss problems, a major issue for sufferers of dementia.
According to Frank Madeo from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Graz, spermidine is found in all body cells, though its concentration decreases with age. The compound aids in the breakdown of defective proteins and other damaged cellular components.
As part of their study the researchers conducted tests on fruit flies, where it was established that the older flies who had been administered spermidine had much better memory abilities. When confronted with certain stimuli, these older flies who otherwise performed poorly, reacted with the same success as the younger flies.
Given that fruit flies, along with mice, have similar memory processes to that of humans, the researchers hope the positive results can be adapted to the treatment of dementia in humans, with targeted patient studies expected as a next step.