Because I’m all about that base

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You may not realise it, but the DNA in your cells is under constant attack.

All kinds of stressors (like the damaging effects of oxidative stress resulting from cellular processes) are constantly bombarding this precision molecule that contains the genetic blueprint for making and maintaining you.

Luckily, millions of years of evolution has led to a complex and comprehensive DNA repair system that never takes holidays…. but might become a little slower as we age.

Recently researchers have reported that certain aspects of this DNA repair system could be playing a role in Parkinson’s. In today’s post, we will review some new research in this area and consider the implications of the findings. 

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My daughter is entering the pre-teen years, and I am struggling with all the horrors that that age brings.

Having survived the ‘Terrible Twos’ and the ‘Three-nager’ phase, I have absolutely adored innocence and magic of years 4 to 8. They were delightful. The ninth year, however, has brought with it the ominous arrival of (for lack of a better word) sass.

It has also involved a departure from the childhood songs (think Disney’s Lion King, Frozen, or Moana hits), and the introduction of more modern music, like her current favourite Meghan Trainor’s All about that Bass (see video above).

The next decade $£%#!& terrifies me.

But Meghan’s song provides an appropriate background for the subject matter of today’s post: Base excision repair

(Yeah, I know that’s a strange segway, but I’m tired and lacking imagination tonight)

What is Base excision repair?

Continue reading “Because I’m all about that base”

PARP-kinson’s goes chlorogenic

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For a long time it was been reported that coffee may be able to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s, but the mechansim by which this association could be occurring has remained elusive.

Now researchers from South Korea have discovered a biological pathway that could help to explain the protective association.

It involves a protein called PARP and a chemical called chlorogenic acid.

In today’s post, we will explore the research suggesting a link between coffee and a lower risk of Parkinson’s, discuss what PARP and chlorogenic acid are, and review the new research that may bring all four topics together.

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Kaldi the goat herder. Source: CoffeeCrossroads

Legend has it that in 800AD, a young Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi noticed that his animals were “dancing”.

They had been eating some berries from a tree that Kaldi did not recognise, but being a plucky young fellow – and being fascinated by the merry behaviour of his four-legged friends – Kaldi naturally decided to self-experiment by eating some of the berries for himself.

The result?

He became “the happiest herder in happy Arabia” (Source).

This amusing encounter was apparently how humans discovered coffee. It is most likely a fiction as the earliest credible accounts of coffee-consumption emerge from the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen, but since then coffee has gone on to become one of the most popular drinks in the world.

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Fancy a cuppa? Source: Science-All

Interesting, but what does coffee have to do with Parkinson’s?

Continue reading “PARP-kinson’s goes chlorogenic”