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Turmeric may help beat brain disease

A compound found in the popular Indian herb could help treat fatal brain diseases like Alzheimer's, says a study.

health and fitness Updated: Jul 19, 2007 14:53 IST

Latest research shows that a chemical compound found in turmeric may help beat Alzheimer's, which is a brain disease that impairs memory.

Researchers isolated the compound 'bisdemethoxycurcumin' found in turmeric, which they claimed helps stimulate immune system cells that defend the body against infections and diseases.

It may be possible to infuse this compound into patients and treat the incurable and fatal brain condition, reported the online edition of Sky News.

The study might explain why Alzhimer's disease is so rare in India. Turmeric is frequently consumed in India and some other Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly cures stomach problems and other ailments.

Earlier research has shown that curcumin, an antioxidant found in turmeric, can help prevent the formation of tumours.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Milan Fiala of the University of California, Los Angeles and his team said they had shown earlier that curcumin may affect the brain cells of Alzheimer's patients.

Using blood samples from Alzheimer's patients, the researchers found that the antioxidant boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear a protein called amyloid beta, which clogs the brains of Alzheimer's patients and kills brain cells.