Professor Hanington’s Speaking Of Science: Indian Meals Will Improve Your Memory

If you like eating Indian food, you’ll be happy with this exciting information. A study published last week from UCLA found that daily consumption of a certain spice, curcumin, enhances mood and memory in individuals between 50-90 years old.

So favorable were these results that you may choose to get home leftovers out of an evening dinner next time you choose in an Indian restaurant at Reno, Salt Lake or Twin Falls. Doing this just may provide you a boost and help you later on in life by preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

The first direction for this investigation, it turns out, came from India itself.

In 2005 a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found a surprisingly lower prevalence of Alzheimer disease in the urban population of Kerala, India, in people 65 years or older that consumed curcumin curry in a daily basis. This early report also signaled better cognitive performance of those analyzed along with other matters, supporting the theory that swallowing the herb may provide people with some kind of neuroprotective gain.

Data taken in that city signaled only 34 people per 1,000 of that age category had been judged as having some kind of dementia. That is in stark contrast to a evaluation completed in the USA, the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS), where the amount climbs to 140 people per thousand, of the same age bracket. Another group in Singapore one year after reported signs of memory performance in older Asians who regularly added curry for their foods.

The University of California study, headed by Dr. Gary Small, utilized a randomized, double-blind, two-group parallel design comparing a placebo to Theracurmin, a form of curcumin with enhanced intestinal endothelium penetrability. Standard curcumin is your principal yellow coloring matter of turmeric, an herb got in the ginger family Zingiberaceae.

Turmeric is usually sold as a supplement, cosmetics ingredient or food flavoring and is widely used in making Indian curry. Organically the curcumin seen in turmeric is considered a pure phenol because of an OH group bonded to a benzene ring and in certain ways a near cousin into ellagic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin.

Unfortunately, normal curcumin by itself suffers from compound disturbances, water insolubility also is absorbed by the body at large doses. Theracurmin, on the other hand, is a water-dispersible altered preparation that uses a colloidal dispersion technologies to enhance the curcumin general adsorbtion to the blood flow. Online advertisements for Theracurmin claim human trials reveal an increase of up to 27 times greater than conventional curcumin extracts.

The subjects in the UCLA test consented to take part for the 18 months and all were pre-screened for adequate sensory and visual acuity. Before starting, every had electrocardiograms that did not reveal substantial medical abnormalities that might interfere with the study. Subjects deemed to get an onset of Alzheimer disease or some other types of start dementia or inability to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were excused.

The research included two standardized memory tests, 12 and 18 months of treatment. One evaluation, the Buschke SRT, has been utilized to evaluate verbal learning. Within this evaluation, 12 words are read fast into the subject who’s then promptly asked to recall as many words as possible. Another evaluation, the Brief Visual Memory Test, had been used to check a subject’s memory. This assessment, similar to the children’s game of Memory, counts how well one can remember a supply of geometric patterns printed onto a page over a short length of time.

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As recorded by Dr. Small, the findings indicate that “daily oral ingestion of a safe type of curcumin enhances memory performance over an 18-month period in middle-aged and elderly non-demented adults. Additionally, these daily oral curcumin intake may cause less neuropathological accumulation in the amygdale and hypothalamus,” the latter meaning that the chance of Alzheimer disease might be mitigated by this treatment.

Volunteers taking Theracurmin “demonstrated significant memory progress after 18 months as measured by scores (of the aforementioned tests) demonstrating differences between curcumin and placebo groups with an effect size of 0.68.”

The newspaper says the investigators plan to run a follow-up study with a bigger amount of people. That study will also include some people with mild depression so the scientists can explore whether curcumin also has antidepressant effects. The bigger sample would allow them to assess whether curcumin’s memory-enhancing outcomes change based on people’s genetic risk for Alzheimer’s, their age or the level of their cognitive issues.

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My next order of aloo gobi would have extra turmeric!