As life expectancy has increased in most countries, neurologic health has become an ever more pressing topic of research. Current research explains some trends that lead to better neurologic health, but there are still many factors affecting neurological well-being that remain unexplained. Many reports suggest that a healthy lifestyle, including daily activity and exercise, could be neuroprotective.
In an effort to further elucidate neuroprotective factors, a group of Korean scientists studied the effects of cinnamaldehyde, a major component of cassia and cinnamon essential oils, on neurons in an in vivo model. Interestingly enough, they found that administration of cinnamaldehyde decreased levels of protein factors related to the cellular process autophagy. Autophagy, or a mechanism by which cellular components are turned over, is tightly regulated in most cells, especially neurons. Researchers have suggested that strict regulation of autophagy in neurons is an important factor to neurologic health.
While these findings likely require further validation in different models, they are encouraging as efforts are made to better understand practical methods to maintain proper neurologic health.*