A team of Sudanese scientists, led by pediatrician, Professor Mustafa Abdallah Mohamed Salih, has won last May the American Patent for an extract from broad beans that proved to have the ability to cure epilepsy spasms.
The finding was adopted by the King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and was based on a previous study by Prof. Salih which noted that an ingredient in broad beans can secure the body against epilepsy convulsions.
Broad beans is a popular meal in the Sudan and its northern neighbor Egypt where it is widely grown and consumed.
In a statement to the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), Prof. Salih said the study's outcome was published in 2008 in the international Epilepsy & Behavour Journal.
The study had started by an observation from Prof. Salih that epilepsy in the Sudan, where broad beans is the major breakfast meal, was far less than in neighboring Sub- Sahara African countries.
Broad beans (otherwise known as horse beans or java beans) also enters into the supper meal in the Sudan.
Prof. Salih said he had conducted the study in collaboration with Saud University Pharmacologist, Prof. Ali Ahmed Mustafa (also Sudanese) when laboratory mice were injected with two drugs, strychnine and picrotoxin, which cause convulsions leading to death. Some of the lab mice were given a broad bean concentrate half an hour before giving them the two drugs. It was found that lethal epilepsy was reduced by 66% in the mice supplied with the broad bean extract before they were injected with the drugs that cause epileptic spasms. To prove that, a group of mice that took the broad bean extract was injected with valium before they were injected with the two drugs. In this group the rate of prevention against the lethal epilepsy was 100%.
To separate the effective substance in broad bean as a natural and safe cure for epilepsy, a joint research was conducted in collaboration with Sudanese Professor Mu'tasim Ibrahim Khalil of the Saud University's Chemistry Section that helped reach the chemical composition in broad bean that will prevent the epilepsy spasms.
Prof. Salih had scored a lot of successes in the domains of pediatrics, child neurology and hereditary science. In this respect he discovered a new disease in collaboration with other scientists and researchers from Strasburg University, France. The disease starts in early childhood when the baby finds difficulty to walk. It is accompanied with spasms in some cases that can be controlled by suitable medicines. But the staggering can worsen gradually after ten years, accompanied by a shrinking in the cerebellum and amentia in some cases.
After eight years of molecular and laboratory analysis he discovered a new inherited gene which causes the muscular myopathy. This gene has been named after him as 'Salih myopathy'.
Prof. Salih has also found a new laboratory testing for a quick diagnosis of viral meningitis.
Prof. Salih, on behalf of his fellow researchers, has acknowledged the concern the Saud University gives to scientific research and inventions "a matter that caused it to assume an outstanding position at both the regional and international levels."
He also thanked his fellow scientists for praising his scientific achievement, hoping his discovery could help the entire mankind.
Prof. Salih was born in the town of Kosti, White Nile State, and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum. He then obtained the clinical doctorate of pediatrics in 1980. Then he obtained the Doctorate of Medicine (with honours) in 1982. Three years later he was certified by the American Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. Then he obtained the doctorate of medical sciences from the Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1990. In 2005 he was elected to the British Royal College For Pediatrics and in 2015 he was elected neurology fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
He had served as professor of pediatrics at the faculty of medicine, King Saud University, since 1992. He had collected a lot of regional and international scientific awards in medicine. He has written a number of scientific books and theses.