Statistics indicate that about 3 per cent of the world’s population suffers from epileptic seizures to a greater or lesser degree. Preventive care usually involves the intake of pharmaceuticals, which contain gamma-amino butyric acid. The problem is that this is creates a placebo effect, which is almost totally ineffective for about one fourth of those afflicted with epilepsy. This is behind the scientific motivation for more effective anticonvulsants that have minimal side effects.
The Russian city of Novosibirsk is the country’s third largest after Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Scientists there are very busy developing more effective and cheaper anticonvulsants, which are also less toxic to the user than existing anti-epileptic drugs. According to news sources, the researchers have suggested a new material from which to make these drugs based on pinene amino acids. Amino acids derived from alpha-pinenes are rigid in structure and are more selective during binding with target molecules.
These amino acid derivatives are organic compounds (hydrocarbons) of natural origin. They are of the terpene class, from which the word turpentine comes, which in turn is derived from pine needle oil. This compound is found in the oils of many species of many coniferous trees, notably the pine, and is also in the essential oil of the herb, rosemary.
Researchers are suggesting that making anticonvulsants, based on pinene amino acids will be more effective in treating patients with seizures. Epileptics desperately need effective and non-toxic treating agents and Russian scientists have already performed some pharmacological studies of the new drug on non-pedigree laboratory mice.
The simple extraction process of this common substance (alpha-pinene) brings new hope to those suffering from seizures. Scientists believe this derivative will become the basis for the almost non-toxic anticonvulsant of the future.
An easier life for those suffering from epilepsy is clearly in view. And the world applauds the work of these daring scientists.