Brasch Explores New B-12 Compound That May Defend Against Ailments of Aging
Anyone who’s made fruit salad knows how the white flesh of an otherwise picture-perfect apple will turn brown once it’s removed from the protection of its glossy red skin.
Dr. Nicola Brasch, assistant professor of chemistry, likens the reaction — known as oxidative stress — to the human body’s aging process. Furthermore, the buildup of this molecular and cellular damage increases our vulnerabilities to illness as we grow older.
Oxidative stress is associated with the production of reactive, harmful, oxygen-containing radicals, which attack and damage important molecules in our bodies, including proteins, lipids and DNA, Brasch says. Oxidative stress also plays a role in a wide variety of diseases — most of them linked to aging — including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and various neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Brasch, who leads
Take your vitamins
Vitamin B12 is very busy in our bodies. It plays a role in metabolizing homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. A deficiency of B12, according to recent research findings, can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and cognitive impairment. Pernicious anemia and neurological disorders top the list of B12 deficiency-related health consequences.
B12 is synthesized by a variety of microorganisms found in soil, water and the stomachs and intestines of animals. Vegetarians and individuals who don’t eat much meat are more likely to suffer from B12 deficiency; after all, humans obtain their dally requirement of vitamin B12 almost exclusively from meat products.
Despite the abundance and variety of food in the Western world, vitamin deficiencies remain widespread. Approximately 20 percent or more of the
License to heal
Pamlab, L.L.C., a Louisiana-based pharmaceutical company, has licensed from
You can also learn more about the university’s resources for technology licensing on the Office of Technology Transfer Web site or in the “Anatomy of the Technology Transfer” video (Watch the Anatomy of Technology Transfer video in Windows Media Player or watch the Anatomy of Technology Transfer video in QuickTime.)