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Plants hope in search for cure

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 10, 2014

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A plant extract which could reduce the symptoms of a rare muscle disease that leaves children with little or no control of their movements has been identified by West Country scientists.

Researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have been part of an international team led by the University of Edinburgh looking at a plant pigment called quercetin. Present in some fruits, vegetables, herbs and grains, the team found it could help to prevent damage to the nerves associated with the childhood form of motor neurone disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), also known as "floppy baby syndrome". There is currently no cure.

Professor Tom Gillingwater, of the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, said: "This is an important step that could one day improve quality of life for babies affected by this condition."

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