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Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Sunrise Senior Living Blog

Curry 'May Help the Brain to Heal'

Spices may contribute to our brain's ability to heal. Good news if you love an occasional curry. A recent study suggests that a compound found in turmeric - a spice found in many curries - could enhance the growth of the brain's nerve cells that aid it in the recovery process.

According to a study conducted at the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany, the spice can help the brain to heal. Although there are more studies and trials necessary before confirming whether this is true for humans, the German study, published in the journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy, suggested that a compound found in turmeric could enhance the growth of the brain's nerve cells that aid it in the recovery process.

Enhanced nerve growth

Rats were injected with a compound called aromatic-turmerone found naturally in turmeric. Afterwards, their brains were scanned and researchers discovered that the areas of the brain involved in nerve growth were significantly more active after the injection. 

Another part of the study included rodent neural stem cells, or NSCs, saturated in multiple concentrations of aromatic-tumerone extract. NSCs are capable of transforming into any kind of brain cell. Researchers believe that they could contribute to the brain's ability to recover following damage or disease. The results showed the higher the concentration of aromatic-turmerone, the more the NSCs grew, while the cells that were covered in the compound appeared to affect specific types of brain cells at a faster pace as well.

Can this help humans?

"It is interesting that it might be possible to boost the effectiveness of the stem cells with aromatic-turmerone. And it is possible this in turn can help boost repair in the brain," said Dr. Maria Adele Rueger, a member of the researcher team, as quoted by the journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy.

Laura Phipps​, of the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, said that while researchers work to find evidence that turmeric can be used to treat cognitive diseases in humans, those with Alzheimer's disease should consider stocking up on spices that contain the compound. 

One of Britain's leading providers of care for older people Sunrise Senior Living has 27 care homes in the UK, each with a dedicated neighbourhood for dementia care. A spokesperson for Sunrise said: "There is an enormous amount research currently being carried out into many different aspects of dementia. Even though this particular study appears to be at a very early stage, anything that increases our knowledge is to be welcomed."

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