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Curry spice turmeric may help prevent Alzheimer's disease

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By David Liu, PHD

Tuesday June 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new report suggests that curcumin, a dietary polyphenol found in the curry spice turmeric may be used as a neuroprotective agent to prevent or treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Darvesh AS of Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, OH and colleagues reviewed research on the potential therapeutic effect of curcumin  against Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's and its ability to counteract oxidative stress and inflammation, which are believed to be a cause for chronic diseases.

The researchers found there is evidence obtained from animal model studies that curcumin may protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

In fact, drug companies are developing semi-synthetic curcuminoids and novel formulations of curcumin which can be more effective and safer than curcumin.

But the researchers said more research is needed to examine the therapeutic effectiveness of curcumin against Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

The review was published in the journal Expert Opinions on Investigational Drugs.

In 2009, scientists of University of California - Los Angeles  reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's disease that using a combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin or curcuminoids can boost the immune system in protecting the brain against amyloid beta, which is believed to be the cause for Alzheimer's disease.

In March, 2012, Michigan State University scientists reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that curcumin can help prevent protein clumping or aggregation, which is the first step of diseases like Parkinson's disease.

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.  Millions of old Americans are believed to suffer this disease and Parkinson's disease.