Curcumin may protect premature infants' lungs

Turmeric, a key ingredient in spicy curry dishes, has long been known to have medicinal values. Now new research finds a substance in turmeric, curcumin, may provide lasting protection against potentially deadly lung damage in premature infants.

Premature infants often need the assistance of ventilators and forced oxygen therapy because they're frequently born with inadequate lung function. These therapies can cause the infants to suffer lasting lung damage and even death. Researchers at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed), using , found curcumin provided long-term protection against this damage.

Their study, published online by the American Journal of Physiology, Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, found curcumin provided protection against bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BDP), a condition characterized by scarring and inflammation, and against hyperoxia, in which too much oxygen enters the body through the lungs, for up to 21 days after birth. A previous LA BioMed study found curcumin provided protection for up to seven days after birth.

"This is the first study to find long-term benefits of using curcumin to protect lung function in premature infants," said Virender K. Rehan, MD, the LA BioMed lead researcher who authored the study. "Curcumin is known to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, making it a promising therapy for premature infants who require after birth."

BDP is now the most common of infancy in the U.S. With more premature babies surviving because of improvements in neonatal care, the cases of BPD have increased. A 2010 study found 67.3% of babies born at 22-25 weeks of gestation developed BPD, compared to 36.6% of infants born at 26-30 weeks of gestation.

More information: ajplung.physiology.org/content… .00082.2013.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists discover gene controlling muscle fate

6 hours ago

Scientists at the University of New Mexico have moved a step closer to improving medical science through research involving muscle manipulation of fruit flies. They discovered in the flight muscles of Drosophila ...

Study clues to aging bone loss

6 hours ago

In Canada, bone fractures due to osteoporosis affect one in three women and one in five men over their lifetimes, costing the health care system more than $2.3 billion a year.

User comments