JOHANNESBURG - Walter Sisulu University’s pharmagnostic researcher, Dr. Taiwo Olayemi Elufioye, is aiming for a cure for dementia as her research over the past three years into three plants could help recover memory loss through a ground-breaking anti-aging drug discovery.
Pharmacognosy is the branch of knowledge concerned with medical drugs obtained from plants and other natural resources.
In her research study titled: “Metabolomic Profiling of Selected Medicinal Plants With Memory Enhancing And Related Potentials Using Direct Or Hyphenated Spectroscopic Methods”, she used modern methods to identify active agents in some medicinal plants that have been used through the ages by African traditional healers either as memory enhancers or as anti-aging cures.
She started the research with an ethno-medical survey that lead to activity screening to identify these active plants. This was then followed by the process of bioactive compound identification using multiple scientific techniques.
“The main predisposing factor to memory loss is aging. Which means every single person is at risk of losing their memory as we grow old. We know the various challenges which are faced in Africa in terms of accessibility to medicine, unlike in the Western world. Thus, if we as Africans can produce our own drugs from our own resources, the impact can only be imagined both in terms of a better wellbeing as well as economic advancement,” Elufioye said.
Should the outcome of the research be successful, this discovery will be a major breakthrough in medicine as there is currently no cure for dementia. At this stage clinical trials have not yet started, but she told Business Report that partnering with a multi-national drug company would be a good idea, but she was not at that stage yet.