Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:43 and 3:43 a.m.

Syrup Cure





Listen to story

01:30
Download this story 0MB

Is the cure for ALS hiding in our pancakes?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying: Maybe so!  If you’re a worm that is.

ALS – Lou Gehrig's disease – is a motor neuron disease that causes irreversible damage to nerve cells.  To study ALS, scientists genetically modified the roundworm species C. elegans.  They discovered that a dextrose chemical cocktail could reduce ALS symptoms in the worms. 

But dextrose is just sugar! So, could an all-natural product provide the same benefits?

Enter researchers at the University of Montreal.  They turned to the old Canadian favorite – maple syrup – to investigate.  

Worms were fed either a normal diet or meals enhanced with pure maple syrup.  The result? Compared to a boring breakfast, the sugary supplement saved the lives of sixty-six percent of the worms!

So, the sweet, syrupy goodness can do more than liven up pancakes.  Maple syrup actually prevents ALS in C. elegans! Understanding this could lead to new medicines for humans with ALS.

Now if only hockey could prevent tooth decay. Then Canadians would have it made!