Turmeric compound stimulates brain cell regeneration

Turmeric compound stimulates brain cell regeneration

Life Extension Update

Tuesday, September 30, 2014. An article published online on September 25, 2014 in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy reveals an ability for aromatic (ar-) turmerone, a compound found in turmeric, to increase brain stem cell proliferation and differentiation in cell cultures, and to encourage the growth of neuron-generating areas of the brains of animals that received it. The spice turmeric is the source of another compound, curcumin, which has also been found to have neuroprotective properties.

Earlier studies involving aromatic turmerone found that it prevented the activation of microglia cells, which trigger neuroinflammation associated with various disorders. For the current research, Adele Rueger of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Jülich, Germany and her associates tested ar-turmerone’s effect in neural stem cells, which differentiate into neurons and play a role in brain self-repair. Culturing rat neural stem cells in six different concentrations of ar-turmerone over three days resulted in an increase in stem cell proliferation of up to 80%. Cell differentiation also increased in treated cells.

The team then tested the effects of ar-turmerone in vivo. PET imaging revealed expansion of the subventricular zone and hippocampus, which are areas of the adult mammalian brain in which neurogenesis occurs, in animals injected with the compound.

"While several substances have been described to promote stem cell proliferation in the brain, fewer drugs additionally promote the differentiation of stem cells into neurons, which constitutes a major goal in regenerative medicine," Dr Rueger stated. "Our findings on aromatic turmerone take us one step closer to achieving this goal."

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Fish oil use associated with brain volume preservation
brain volume  

A report published on June 20, 2014 in Alzheimer's & Dementia describes a protective effect for fish oil supplementation on the maintenance of brain volume and cognitive function in older men and women.

The study included 193 Alzheimer's disease patients, 397 individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 229 cognitively normal individuals who participated in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a five year study designed to evaluate changes in cognition and brain structure in men and women aged 55 to 90. Subjects underwent neuropsychological testing and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain upon enrollment and at six to twelve month intervals. The analysis included 117 subjects who regularly used fish oil supplements at the initial study visit, among whom a significant percentage reported continued use at subsequent visits.

While average hippocampus and cerebral cortex gray matter volume decreased over time in the group as a whole, the use of fish oil was associated with improvements in these areas. Those who used fish oil over follow-up had better scores of cognitive function at any time over the course of the study; however, the effect mainly occurred among those who were not carriers of the apolipoprotein E4 gene, which has been linked with Alzheimer's disease.

"This retrospective cohort study is the first to examine the potential association of ongoing fish oil supplement use with conservation of brain volume and cognition across the spectrum of normal aging and neurodegeneration," Lori A. Daiello of Brown University and colleagues announce. "The relationships of fish oil supplement use with preserved cerebral cortex gray matter volume in MCI and hippocampus volume in Alzheimer's disease have not been previously reported."

They conclude that their results "highlight the need for future research on the effects of long-term fish oil supplement use on cognitive aging and dementia prevention in middle-aged and older adults."

Life Extension Clinical Research Update

Alzheimer's disease, South Florida location

You or someone you know could qualify for an investigational treatment that may suppress an inflammatory factor thought to be implicated in the neuronal degeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is characterized by memory loss, disorientation, and other cognitive deficits.

Help us find a way to fight Alzheimer's.

Study Objective:

Measure the effects of medication injections and nutritional supplements over approximately 29 weeks.

To qualify:

  • You must live in the Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Palm Beach area of Florida.
  • Have mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Your involvement:

  • You will make the required visits to the investigative site.
  • Receive blood tests, blood pressure checks, evaluations, study medication and nutritional supplements at no cost
  • Upon completion of the study you will be compensated for time and travel up to $500.

Register For This Study

Or call 1-866-517-4536.


Life Extension Magazine October 2014 E-Issue Now Online!

Life Extension Magazine August 2014 Issue


Health Headlines

As we see it: Assembly line medicine, by William Faloon

Deadly carbohydrates: The lethal sugar/cancer connection, by Stephanie Martinson

Unique probiotic targets cardiovascular disease, by Celine Thompson

Natural extracts lower blood pressure, by Brandon DeWitte

Innovative, personalized cancer treatment, by Michael Downey

A lifesaving nutrient in citrus fruit, by Steven DeBerg


In the News

Wellness Profile: Dr Robert Huizenga, by Astrid Kessler


Health Concern

Alzheimer's disease

brain volume  

Curcumin is derived from the Curcuma longa (turmeric) plant. Many studies have suggested that curcumin may be an effective therapy for Alzheimer's because it exerts neuroprotective actions through numerous pathways including inhibition of amyloid beta, clearance of existing amyloid beta, anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity, delayed degradation of neurons, and chelation (binding) of copper and iron, among others (Begum 2008; Mishra 2008; Ringman 2005; Walker 2007).

Curcumin has been found to reduce cognitive dysfunction, neural synaptic damage, amyloid plaque deposition, and oxidative damage. It has also been found to modulate the levels of cytokines in brain neurons (Cole 2004; Mishra 2008). The anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin appears to result from a reduction of nuclear factor-kappaB, a nuclear transcription factor that regulates many genes involved in cytokine production (Aggarwal 2004). Curcumin's ability to chelate toxic metals such as iron and copper and reduce their levels may also help prevent amyloid aggregation (Baum 2004). By inhibiting interaction with heavy metals (e.g., cadmium and lead), curcumin may reduce cerebral deregulation (Mishra 2008). Laboratory studies also suggest that curcumin is more effective at inhibiting accumulation of amyloid beta in animal brains than the over-the-counter NSAIDs ibuprofen and naproxen (Yang 2005). A clinical trial found that doses of regular curcumin ranging from 1 to 4 grams daily were well tolerated and exerted anti-inflammatory effects and possibly reduced amyloid beta aggregation in 27 subjects with probable Alzheimer's (Baum 2008).

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