Another Benefit of Curcumin
A new study, conducted at UCLA and published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, found that daily doses of curcumin may not only prevent memory problems from worsening over time, but actually improve memory. Researchers also found decreases in areas of the brain that affect mood and memory, and that have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin is the compound in turmeric root that gives curry its yellow color, and it was chosen to see if its anti-inflammatory properties may protect the brain from neurodegeneration.
The team was led by UCLA’s Gary Small. Researchers studied 40 people between the ages of 50 and 90. Participants were either given twice-daily 90-mg curcumin supplements or a placebo for 18 months. All the participants had mild memory problems, but didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
According to Forbes, at the study’s outset, participants took memory and cognition tests, filled out questionnaires measuring their mood and depression, and underwent brain scans to look at two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s — amyloid-beta plaques and tau “tangles.” Every six months they were tested for memory, cognition and mood, and given brain scans.
Results of the study are as follows:
“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inﬂammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” said Small in a statement.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. In 2017, an estimated 5.3 million were age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals were under age 65 and have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
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