Living on Earth’s Diane Toomey reports on a study that shows a common Indian spice might play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
CURWOOD: Coming up, an entire province in Canada goes green – with garbage. Meet the composting Nova Scotians. First, this Environmental Health Note from Diane Toomey.
TOOMEY: Theres evidence to suggest that anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen may help protect against Alzheimers disease since they reduce brain inflammation. But excessive use of these substances can cause intestinal liver and kidney damage. Now a study suggests there might be an alternative.
India has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimers disease. It also has one of the highest rates of curry consumption. Turmeric is an important ingredient in curry and turmeric contains curcumin, a well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb. So using mice specially bred to develop Alzheimers, researchers at UCLA fed one group a normal diet. Another group of mice received the same diet, but with a low dose of curcumin added. After six months, brain biopsies showed the curcumin-eating mice had less inflammation compared to mice that didnt eat the spice.
These mice also had less oxidative damage to brain cells and produced smaller amounts of a protein associated with Alzheimers disease. Researchers caution that while the study is promising, theres no research to suggest that curcumin would have similar effects in humans.
Thats this weeks Health Note. Im Diane Toomey.
CURWOOD: And youre listening to Living on Earth.
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