"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse
Scientists have found more evidence for the abilities of curcumin - the ingredient which makes a curry a curry - in preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Research conducted in the Pharmacy department by postgraduate student Sheril Daniel under the supervision of Prof Santy Daya and Dr Janice Limson of Rhodes University in South Africa suggests that curcumin may have additional benefits previously unknown.
Daniel conducted experiments in rats which showed that curcumin is able to protect the brain against oxidative damage induced by cyanide, quinolinic acid and toxic metals such as lead and cadmium. These toxins are all capable of causing intensive oxidative damage to the brain. Oxidative damage has been implicated in various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
The hippocampus, a region of the brain, is linked to vital behaviour and intellectual activities and is known to be a primary target for neuronal degeneration in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Lead has been shown to disrupt structural features of the cells in this region of the brain, leading to various problems including loss of memory and of learning skills.
Daniel's studies showed that curcumin significantly protected the hippocampal cells that were treated with the toxic metal, lead. It is believed that the anti-inflammatory property of curcumin contributed to the reduced amount of swelling observed within neuronal cells.
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