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Curry may keep Alzheimer's at bay

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LOS ANGELES, Dec 29, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A spice used for thousands of years, curry, may be a powerful new weapon in fighting Alzheimer's Disease, researchers said.

Researchers from UCLA and the Department of Veterans Affairs said their study of curcumin, the yellow pigment in curry, found it broke up existing beta amyloid on rats' brains and helped prevent accumulation of the destructive plaque.

Reporting in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the team said curcumin is more effective in stopping the protein fragments from forming than many other drugs being tested to treat the disease that affects 4 million Americans and millions more worldwide.

"The prospect of finding a safe and effective new approach to both prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease is tremendously exciting," said Gregory Cole, the main UCLA investigator.

"Curcumin has been used for thousands of years as a safe anti-inflammatory in a variety of ailments as part of Indian traditional medicine," Cole said. Recent animal studies "support a growing interest in its possible use for diseases of aging involving oxidative damage and inflammation like Alzheimer's, cancer and heart disease."

Cole called for human trials of curcumin to establish safe and effective doses.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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