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Thursday, 16 February 2012 21:08

Eating curry containing curcumin can help to combat Dementia

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A spice- turmeric that contains chemical –curcumin;  commonly found in Indian curry, could be used to combat dementia, according to a study published in the journal PLoS One.

Curcumin is a key chemical in commonly used spic- Turmeric also known as Haldi. Turmeric powder is  yellow in color and commonly used in Indian curries and middle eastern delicacies. Researchers at Linkoping University studied the effects of curcumin on fruit flies with a nervous disorder similar to dementia.  In a test it had been found that fruit flies those are given curcumin lived 75 percent longer and also maintain their mobility for longer duration.

The findings can explain the reason of lesser cases of dementia and Alzemiers’s diseases in India than in their Western Peer. Even a study showed that Alzheimer’s affects just one per cent of people over the age of 65 living in some Indian villages. In India, turmeric (Haldi poweder) curcumin is eaten almost on daily basis, in their day to day diet.

It has been found in earlier studies that Alzheimer’s is linked to the increase number of protein knots in the brain called amyloid plaques, which disturbs the network of the brain. This in long run can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientist observed that Curcumin did not dissolve the amyloid plaque, in the brain or eyes of the insects; instead, it reduced the amount of oligomers in the fruit flies, the precursor forms of amyloid plaques, and also accelerated the formation of nerve fibres.

Researcher’s view
Prof Per Hammarstrom, of Linkoping University in Sweden, said: “The results confirm our belief that it is the oligomers that are most harmful to the nerve cells.” "We now see small molecules in an animal model can influence the amyloid form. To our knowledge the encapsulation of oligomers is a new and exciting treatment strategy."
Several theories have been established about how oligomers can instigate the disease process. According to one hypothesis they become trapped at nerve junctions inhibiting impulse signals. Others claim they destroy brain cells by puncturing membrane. Curcumin is extracted from the root of turmeric and has been used as medicine for thousands of years.

The anti anti inflamatory properties of curcumin-turmeric has been widely used in treatment of various diseases. I personally use and recommend the paste made up of a spoon of honey with pinch of turmeric powder (haldi) to relieve the sore throat. Similarly many studies had shown that it aids digestion, helps fight infection also protects against heart attack. 
Researchers now hope that drugs with similar properties to curcumin could be used as preventative treatments for dementia.
The study findings are published in the journal PLoS One.


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