- A Filipina student scientist discovered that Aratiles plant can prevent type 2 Diabetes.
- Maria Isabel Layson competed at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona.
- She discovered that the aratiles fruit is a source of antioxidants.
A student from Iloilo National High School discovered that the Jamaican cherry, widely known in the Philippines as aratiles, can potentially cure type 2 diabetes. Maria Isabel Layson recently competed at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in Phoenix, Arizona.
She was among 1,800 student scientists from over 80 countries to compete at the world’s largest pre-university science competition. The 16-year-old high school student was one of the awardees at the 2019 ISEF for her discovered potential anti-diabetic components in the aratiles fruit (Muntingia calabura). There were 11 other Filipino delegates at the said event.
Layson chose the much-overlooked plant to focus her study on. The aratiles can found in tropical countries such as Mexico, Bolivia, and the Philippines.
The young student discovered that even though the plant has been studied for over two decades, no particular study have taped its full potential as a medicinal resource.
Layson’s research took her back and forth to Manila to complete experiments at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute laboratory. Eventually, she discovered that the aratiles fruit is a source of antioxidants and in “practical application that can be directed towards the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus through the prevention of postprandial hyperglycemia.”
Layson said in an interview:
“I studied the Aratiles fruit or Sarisa to address diabetes. The conclusion of this study is that all of the plant parts of the Sarisa fruit contains anti-oxidants, which could help because of its anti-diabetic properties.”
International prizes were bagged by Krithik Ramesh of Colorado, while Allison Jia of California and Rachel Seevers of Kentucky received the two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards; Shriya Reddy of Michigan took home the Craig R. Barrett Award for Innovation.
Although she did not win in the competition, Layson said she was honored to represent the country in the international fair.
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