03 October 2006

Should Grandparents Eat Indian Food?

Researchers at UCLA recently did an interesting test with curcumin, a chemical found in curry and turmeric. They took blood cells from 6 Alzheimer's patients and 3 healthy control and grew the cells in the lab. Then they added curcumin to the cells and observed its effect on macrophages, a type of blood cell that eats up foreign substances like the amyloid beta protein implicated in Alzheimer's.

After 24 hours, cells from 3 of the 6 patients showed increased ingestion of amyloid protein. No change was observed in the control group. The researchers also noted that those patients whose cells showed increased activity had milder Alzheimer's than the patients whose cells showed no change, suggesting that any benefit from curcumin may only be in the early stages of disease.

Because the sample size is so small, this experiment cannot be regarded as proof of anything. But it does give reason to pursue further experiments. And there's plenty of other evidence to suggest that curry and turmeric have beneficial health effects.

Let's face it: there are worse ways to maintain health than eating Indian food!

1 comment:

Michelle Fry said...

I am planning on eating Indian food tonight and now, I'm going to really relish it. I find the idea of amyloid beta protein interesting. I wonder if people with higher cholesterol develop things like alzheimers and parkinsons or if it tends to be people with lower circulation or if neither of these things is related. I would love to study this kind of thing if money was no issue and I had a scientist to help with my strange hypothesis. I think the limits on funding would be the downside to studying such an interesting disease.