US scientists say they have made a discovery which may ultimately bring hope for treating patients who have Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
The researchers state they have identified a group of chemical compounds which slow down the degeneration of neurons, according to their findings published in the Experimental Biology and Medicine journal.
It may be a significant discovery, they say, because the degeneration of neurons is a process which is associated with the diseases.
Professor Santosh D'Mello, of the University of Texas at Dallas and co-author of the study, said it is increasingly important to find new means of treatment for such conditions because more and more people are suffering from them in an ageing population.
"Although the newly-discovered compounds have only been tested in cultured neurons and mice, they do offer hope," the expert added.
Last week, a separate research team announced they had identified a key contributory factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease.
The study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that a fragment of ribonucleic acid plays a role in the regulating of inflammation associated with the condition.
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