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Role of sprouted seeds in human health and disease prevention
J. FAHEY (1), G. Chodur (2), A. Dinkova-Kostova (3), T. Kensler (4), H. Liu (2), K. Stephenson (2), P. Talalay (2), K. Wade (2), A. Zimmerman (5) (1) John Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.; (2) Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.; (3) University of Dundee, Dundee, Other, Scotland; (4) University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A.; (5) University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA, U.S.A..

Specific diets can reduce the risks of-, and protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.  The novelty of this approach is rooted in the concept that ingesting certain phytochemicals from specific plants can boost the intrinsic defensive mechanisms of cells that protect against oxidative damage, inflammation, and DNA-damaging chemicals—some of the fundamental causes of chronic disease and aging.  We discovered over two decades ago that broccoli seeds and sprouts are remarkably rich in glucoraphanin, the precursor to the chemoprotective isothiocyanate phytochemical sulforaphane.  This has resulted in a series of clinical studies that highlight the special place which the isothiocyanates hold in the armamentarium of protective natural products.  Over the past half-decade a series of experiments in animals and humans has demonstrated that remarkably, the protective effects of sulforaphane extend far beyond protection against cancer and environmental hazards such as air pollution and food-borne toxins -- most surprisingly, to neuroprotection.  We and others are evaluating the effects of the seeds and sprouts of broccoli and related plant species in a range of conditions that include autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and acute spinal cord injury. Recent developments will be discussed.