One of our store cupboard staple ingredients could be an unlikely weapon in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists have found that cinnamon, a spice commonly used all over the world, contains a chemical with brain-protecting benefits.

A recent study using mice discovered that the substance Cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon is converted into sodium benzoate by the liver, a substance approved for the treatment of neurological disorders. A team at Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago found that, once synthesised, the chemical enters the brain and prevents the loss of certain proteins that help to protect cells and neurons, and improve motor functions.
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The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, but a large new study suggests that a previous infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may be one cause. Epstein-Barr, which may be the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, infects more than 90% of the human population and can cause mononucleosis (also known as ?mono?) in adolescents and adults. The infection can last up to a month and cause fever, sore throat and swollen lymph glands.

In a study of more than 62,000 women, Dr. Alberto Ascherio of Harvard University and his colleagues found 18 women who had blood collected prior to their diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. They found that these women had higher antibody levels to EBV in their blood compared to people who did not have multiple sclerosis.
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