Compound in Indian Curry Attenuates Strokes

Posted by Admin on June 25, 2010
Curry may also be a pharmaceutical. Research that's being conducted at the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine is showing that curcumin, the biologically active compound in curry's main spice, turmeric, can diminish the size of blood clots in the brain. These clots form when a blood vessel bursts in the brain, causing a hemorrhagic stroke. These comprise 17 percent of strokes, according to the American Stroke Association. As a bonus, curcumin reduces one's chances of coming down with cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

Doctors usually treat victims of a hemorrhagic stroke with medications that address symptoms such as headache and nausea. Or they seek to get to the bottom of things by operating on the brain, seeking to remove the clot. But curcumin may one day be made into an injectable drug that takes care of brain blood clots without the invasiveness of surgery.

 "We found that curcumin significantly decreases the size of a blood clot, but we're not sure why it happens," says Jay McCracken, who is participating in the research that's being conducted by Dr. Krishnan Dhandapani, a neuroscientist at MCG. McCracken notes that one reason for its effect may be that curcumin is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

 In the study, the yellow powder, which gives turmeric its color, is dissolved in corn oil and injected into the abdomens of animals with hemorrhagic stroke to determine the curcumin's optimal dose and timing. In the human world, victims of hemorrhagic stroke must be treated as soon as possible after the event to ensure maximum benefit.

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