The fungus known as a "turkey tail", which has the form of a fan and is born in the stumps of trees, could help to prevent memory loss, according to research by scientists at the Portuguese University of Coimbra (UC).
This is the "coriolus versicolor" mushroom, whose intake could help increase the capacity of contact between neurons of the brain's hippocampus.
Ana Cristina Rego, one of the coordinators of the Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology at UC, explained to Efe that, in an attempt carried out during the past year, in healthy mice they found that "it increased the number of branches of the neurons ", called dendrites, after the ingestion of the fungus.
The dendrites have the function of receiving impulses from other neurons and sending them to the nucleus of the following, Therefore, if the increase in ramifications in the hypocritic neurons is favored, the loss of memory in adults can be prevented.
One of the keys to the study – whose conclusions were published in the scientific newspaper "Oncotarget" – is that they have nourished the laboratory mice with weakened parts of the mushrooms and not with extracts to avoid the loss of charity components, Rego said.
Our discovery suggests that this fungus can contribute to the reinforcement of the backup neutral and possibly to the well-known reservation
"Our discovery suggests that this fungus can contribute to the reinforcement of the backup neutral and possibly to the cultured reservation," he said.
Frederico Costa Pereira, a member of the research team, considered that "A diet that includes this supplement can be part of a strategy that favors healthy aging, including the prevention of a cognitive deficit associated with neurodegeneration ".
The following phase will be to practice similar tests with this mushroom on mice genetically modified to show Alzheimer's symptoms.
The objective is to determine whether the components of this fungus also favor the increase of dendrites in the neurons and, therefore, could prevent cognitive deficit.
The researchers, according to Ana Cristina Rego, begin with the hypothesis that the fungus has a potential "prebiotic" that stimulates the "bacterial" probiotics – the good bacteria that live in the intestine and improves the health of the organism – informs advantages like facilitate digestion and absorb foods or strengthen the immune system.
"These bacteria – probiotics – can influence, in turn, the brain", said the Portuguese scientist, who emphasized that another virtue of this fungus is its anti-inflammatory and antioxid effects.
The objective is not focused, he explained, discovering how to cure memory problems, but "inhibiting the degradation of the cognitive deficit". This fungus has already been used in different countries for oncological treatments. In fact, an extract of the plant, the Krestin polysaccharide (PSK), was approved as a medicine and prescribed for the treatment of cancer in Japan in 1977.