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curcumin, commonly known as haldi in India, helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, a brain disorder that results in memory loss, personality changes and a decline in the thinking ability. These adverse impacts, scientists believe, are related to the death of brain cells and a breakdown of connections between the surviving ones.
As per a study conducted by scientists from the us -based University of California, curcumin inhibits the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids -- inert substances responsible for Alzheimer's -- in the brain. The study, involving genetically altered mice, suggests curcumin is far more effective in inhibiting formation of the amyloids than drugs currently being tested to treat the disease (Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol 280, No 11).
Furthermore, curcumin is a powerful anti-oxidant and possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which help fight the disease symptoms. The researchers found the low molecular weight and polar structure of the spice allow it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier more effectively.
They assert the extensive use of curcumin is possibly why India has the lowest rate of the disease in the world -- about 4.4 times less among adults aged 70-79 than the rate in the us.