Hybridized Molecules, Drug-eluting Stents, and Olive Oil Aroma: Chemistry This Week:


Home / Hybridized Molecules, Drug-eluting Stents, and Olive Oil Aroma: Chemistry This Week:
Curcumin: Courtesy of National Institutes of Health

Could a combination of Curcumin and Melatonin protect your brain from Alzeimer’s disease? Image Courtesy of National Institutes of Health

Everywhere you turn, chemical products are a part of daily life, thanks to the research of chemists worldwide.

From hybridized molecules to treat Alzheimer’s disease to specially-formulated stents that help heart disease patients, and education programs to help students understand the chemistry behind aromas, the science of chemicals is everywhere.

Chemistry in Neuroscience and Pharmacology

Alzheimer’s disease is a dreaded aspect of aging; all too often many of us have heard friends, colleagues and family comment that they would  not want to be a burden to loved ones if they knew they would contract the disease.

The latest findings from the American Chemical Society’s journal Neuroscience gives the prospect of avoiding Alzheimer’s a boost, with the news that there may be a way to protect the brain from memory loss.

Melatonin: Courtesy of National Institutes of Health

Melatonin is an essential part of a new hybridized molecule that researchers believe could halt Alzheimer’s: Image Courtesy of National Institutes of Health

New research reports on combining two naturally-occurring chemical agents into a single molecule that can protect neurons from aging.

Combining Melatonin and Curcumin in a hybridized fashion gives a ‘one-molecule-one-target’ approach.

Hybridized molecule to be researched upon. (Figure adapted from ACS Neuroscience, Chojnaki, et al. 2014)

Researchers are focusing on this hybridized molecule. (Figure adapted from ACS Neuroscience, Chojnaki, et al. 2014)

Laboratory models have shown Curcumin (the spice component of turmeric) to be effective in fighting Alzheimers’s by lowering toxic protein levels. Research has shown  Melatonin (the sleep agent) to improve cognition and prevent inflammation of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The hybridized molecule uses the best components of the individual molecules.

We eagerly await further results!

Chemistry and Cardiovascular News

As the population continues to age, many face the prospect of heart disease and the associated challenges. Some will undoubtedly face open-heart surgery while others may receive less invasive forms of treatment. One of the more common forms of less-invasive treatment is the application of angioplasty—commonly known as the ‘stent.’

When comparing the angioplasty to open heart surgery, statistics seem to indicate that most individuals will ultimately face open heart surgery despite prior angioplasty. However, welcome news has been reported in the journal, Langmuir—researchers from the University of South Dakota have applied vitamin C to drug-eluting stents – those are stents that slowly release a medication into the body, with the intent to reduce the chances of the blockage coming back.

By applying vitamin C to drug-eluting stents, researchers have reported a reduced level of blood clots; a significant problem associated with drug-eluting stents. The exact mechanism by which vitamin C improves the possible outcome is based in part upon vitamin C’s powerful anti-oxidant properties (thereby decreasing the inflammatory response due to the presence of the stent). Given the vitamin’s dubious past, the FDA will surely scrutinize these results.

Chemistry Education

Chemical educators perceive that one way to conquer the fear of ‘chemistry’ is to introduce common aspects of daily life into chemical parlance. In that vein of understanding life and chemistry, educators have attempted to connect sensory perception to olive oil.

The Journal of Chemical Education reported recently in the article, Making Sense of Olive Oil: Simple Experiments To Connect Sensory Observations with the Underlying Chemistry, of  educators’ efforts to connect daily life with chemistry.

The team of educators from the US and Turkey introduced a sensory-based course to non-chemistry majors, in which the students learned about the chemicals which create the aroma of olive oil. Other experiments were to teach the student about the types of anti-oxidant in olive oil. All in all, the students are given a ‘crash course’ in food chemistry.

Chemicals: Part of Our World

Chemicals may not seem glamorous or exciting, but they are the basis for life as we know it, and there are new advances all the time. From improving health outcomes to fun experiments, this week in chemistry was eventful, to say the least.

Leave a Comment