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16-yr-old scientist discovers potential diabetes cure in aratiles


Sixteen-year-old Maria Isabel Layson from the Iloilo National High School has discovered that the Jamaican cherry, widely known in the Philippines as aratiles, can potentially cure type 2 diabetes.

Because aratiles (Muntingia calabura) grew abundantly in their backyard and along the road side of Iloilo city, but was "often neglected," Layson was inspired to study the antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties of the fruit, especially since diabetes has already claimed the lives of many of her family members.

In a video posted online, Layson said: "The inspiration of my study is the several generations of my family have experienced death of a loved one because of diabetes. It is considered as one of the top causes of death."

Layson expressed hope that her research could lead to the development of a cost-effective alternative cure for diabetes and anti-diabetic supplements.

Layson said, "My research won't end here. It will actually further develop into more specific compounds. We will delve into other diseases."

Not surprisingly, Layson's research won as the Best Individual Research in Life Science during the Department of Education's 2019 National Science and Technology.

Along with six other entries, her research also represented the Philippines during the 2019 International Science and Engineering Fair in Arizona, USA last month.

Because of her research, she was among the first batch of students to ever receive the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation Young Scientist Award. — MDM, GMA News

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