Herbs may help fight diabetes
New research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that herbs like Greek oregano, marjoram, rosemary and Mexican oregano contain enzymes that may help manage type 2 diabetes and could even serve as an alternative to prescription drugs.
The scientists prepared extracts of these plants obtained from greenhouse-grown and commercially purchased dried forms and examined their ability to inhibit two enzymes - one called DPP-IV (also called DPP-4) that plays a role in insulin secretion, and another called PTP1B that is involved in insulin signaling. These enzymes are targets of drugs used to treat diabetes.
The team found that the greenhouse-grown herbs contained more polyphenols and flavonoids than the commercial, dried versions. They also found that extracts of greenhouse-grown rosemary, Mexican oregano, and marjoram were the best inhibitors of DPP-IV, while extracts from the commercial, dried versions were the best inhibitors of PTP1B. While the results are promising, the team said more studies are needed to determine how effective these compounds can be in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in humans.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Diabetes-fighting potential spotted in culinary herbs
Published On: July 24, 2014
Device mimics fly's super hearing
Engineers at the University of Texas have designed a device modeled after the extremely sophisticated hearing of a fly and one day could allow humans to hear only the sounds and conversations they want to hear.
For the research, published in Applied Physics Letters, the scientists focused on the technological potential of mimicking the hearing of the Ormea ochracea fly, which is capable of locating male field crickets from their chirps, and then lays live larvae on and around them. The flies are able to locate the crickets from their sound within an angle of two degrees. Humans locate sound by using the distance between both ears. The sound hits the ears at different times, which helps the brain locate the source. Insect bodies are generally too small to do this, but certain insects, such as the fly, use a different type of mechanism. It amplifies the time difference using a teeter-totter method, allowing the insect to sense the 4-millimeter gap between the sound entering one ear and the other.
Using the fly’s hearing as a model, the researchers made a tiny pressure-sensing device out of silicon. They created a flexible beam using piezoelectric materials that allowed them to use the flexing and rotation of the beam as a way to measure sound pressure and pressure gradient at the same time. These materials convert the mechanical pressure into electrical signals, which allows the device to work with very little power. That distinguishes this device from others that have been designed.
Researchers hope this can become a new and more sophisticated type of hearing aid.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Next-generation hearing aids emulate fly’s ability to pinpoint sound
Published On: July 24, 2014