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Clue to preventing Alzheimer’s found in Vindaloo July 20, 2007

Posted by Dreamhealer in Diet.
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Tumeric

DreamHealer Blog

A new study by researchers in the United States has found during laboratory tests that tumeric, a spice used in curries may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Centre at the University of California discovered an ingredient called bisdemethoxycurcumin found in the spice boosts the brain’s natural ability to mop up nerve-destroying protein plaques associated with the condition.

The researchers say their epidemiological studies suggest that the curry diet might explain why Alzheimer’s disease is so rare in India.

For the study the researchers extracted immune cells from healthy people and from patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and tested how well they absorbed and destroyed protein plaques.

Many experts believe the destruction of the protein plaques to be the primary cause of Alzheimer’s.

The team led by Milan Fiala found that immune cells from Alzheimer’s patients were worse at clearing up the plaques than cells taken from healthy people but when they added the turmeric the immune cells became more active.

Further testing revealed that the ingredient altered the expression of key genes in the immune cells, overcoming the damage that had originally weakened them.

At this stage precisely how the ingredient works in the body and whether a lifetime of eating curries has any preventative effect against Alzheimer’s, is unclear but the team say studies are continuing to see whether a supplement is effective.

Dr. Fiala says the study could lead to drug which is able to counteract the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s.

The study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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