A spoonful of sugar

Umberto Salvagnin [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Mary Poppins may not be medically trained, but she was right about at least one thing: a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down. Mannitol is a sugar alcohol used commercially as an artificial sweetener and medically to facilitate the delivery of drugs into the brain by disrupting the blood–brain barrier. Now, scientists at Tel Aviv University (Israel) and University of California San Diego report that it also disrupts the aggregation of the protein α-synuclein in the brain, a process characteristic of Parkinson’s disease. The discovery may lead to new therapies for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Lab Anim. (NY) 42, 270 (2013).
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