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Curry treatment for Alzheimer’s

Friday, 12 October 2012

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A compound found in a common spice could hold the key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

More than 200 Australians are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every day and by 2050 more than one million Australians will suffer from the disease.

A 12 month clinical trial in partnership with ECU, the McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and Anglican Retirement Villages (ARV) is investigating whether curcumin, found in turmeric, could prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Led by ECU's Chair of Ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease, Professor Ralph Martins, and ARV Dementia Research Consultant Kathryn Goozee, the clinical trial will see 100 residents within ARV take supplements of curcumin or placebo while reviewing results from amyloid brain scans, memory tests and blood biomarker results.

The study will also be utilising retinal scanning, a recently developed technology that offers a non-invasive, lower cost, alternative to brain scanning.

Curcumin is already known to be a powerful antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory and could combat beta amyloid, a protein responsible for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The presence of beta amyloid has been shown to precede the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms by up to 20 years and there are hopes curcumin could offer hope as a preventative.

Ms Goozee said it was critical that solutions were found to prevent the massive increase in dementia predicted in coming decades.

“There is so much that can be achieved in prevention with simple lifestyle modifications, and this type of study will provide some of those answers,” Ms Goozee said.

“If we can demonstrate that a safe, inexpensive nutraceutical, like curcumin, optimises health and preserves a cognitive function, it would be a significant advance in keeping Alzheimer’s at bay.”

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