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. This is none other than a sixteen-year-old Maria Isabel Layson.
Layson says that they have so many aratiles (Muntingia calabura) grew abundantly in their backyard and along the road side of Iloilo city, but was “often neglected”. That is why 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.
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.”
“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.”
This is what she said on a video of her uploaded on Youtube.
She expressed a big hope that her research can lead to the development of a cost-effective alternative cure for diabetes and anti-diabetic supplements.
She also said that,
“My research won’t end here. It will actually further develop into more specific compounds. We will delve into other diseases.”
It is not a surprise that Layson’s research won as the Best Individual Research in Life Science during the Department of Education’s 2019 National Science and Technology. This is along with six other entries, her research also represented the Philippines during the 2019 International Science and Engineering Fair in Arizona, USA last month.
Layson really exert so much effort, dedication and time in her research. As part of it, she was among the first batch of students to ever receive the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation Young Scientist Award.