15-Jan-2021 | Market Research Store

Across the globe, the brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri is found to be spreading a fatal disease named primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This deadly disease is spreading at a faster rate owing to the lack of effective treatment. Recently, researchers published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience that they have isolated a compound from the leaves of a medicinal plant named Inula viscosa or false yellowhead. This plant is known to help kill the amoebae by forcing them to commit cell suicide. Thus, there is a hope for new treatment that can help control the spread of brain-eating amoeba.

The symptoms of PAM are fever, headache, vomiting, seizures, and hallucinations which just within a few weeks turn out to be fatal. This rare disease is generally contracted when swimming in contaminated freshwater. It has recently been found to have increased in regions including the U.S., southern Brazil, the Philippines, and some Asian countries. Currently, amphotericin B is the most common therapy given to those suffering from PAM. However, research has proved that this drug can kill N. fowleri in the lab, but is less effective in the patients as it is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.

However, the strong smelling false yellowhead plant is currently being tested owing to its increased used as a traditional medicine in the Mediterranean region. There is no doubt it could effectively treat PAM. The ethanol extract of the leaves showed excellent N. fowleri killing ability and this encouraged the researchers to study specific compounds in the extract. The most potent of all the compounds was inuloxin A, which played a major role in disrupting the cell’s membranes, causing oxidative damage & chromatin condensation, mitochondrial alterations, and ultimately forcing the parasite to program itself for cell-death. However, in comparison to amphotericin B inuloxin A proved less potent in the lab but the plant-derived compound’s structure helped it cross the blood-brain barrier. It is thus clear that more studies are required to support the hypothesis.

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