Spice ingredient in curry emerges as promising basis for an Alzheimer's disease medicine

August 1, 2012

The spice compound that gives curry dishes their yellow color and pungent flavor is emerging as a prime candidate for a less expensive treatment for Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News. C&EN is the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Lauren K. Wolf, C&EN associate editor, explains that pharmaceutical companies have invested heavily in developing new drugs for AD. More than 5 million people in the U.S. alone already have that memory-robbing disease. Projections suggest that the number will rise to 16 million by 2050. New medications are in the pipeline, but the most advanced candidates, made of monoclonal antibodies, are expensive to produce and may cost tens of thousands of dollars annually to treat each patient.

As a result, scientists are seeking less-pricey alternatives, such as substances that can be extracted in abundant amounts from plant compounds. One of the most promising is curcumin, a spice compound extracted from the rootstalks of the turmeric plant. The article details scientific evidence about curcumin's potential and the hurdles that chemists must overcome to craft it into a drug. For instance, only tiny amounts of powdered curcumin taken by mouth get into the blood, let alone the brain.

Explore further: Capability of curry component to treat disease merits US patent

More information: "Spicing Up Alzheimer’s Therapy" cen.acs.org//articles/90/i31/T … -Curcumin-Treat.html

Related Stories

Capability of curry component to treat disease merits US patent

June 12, 2012
A U.S patent issued today to the University of Rochester and two other entities for the use of compounds related to a popular spice in the fight against cancer, acne, baldness, and other medical conditions.

Curcumin shows promise in attacking Parkinson's disease

March 20, 2012
Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, is proving effective at preventing clumping of a protein involved in Parkinson's disease, says a Michigan State University researcher.

Like curry? New biological role identified for compound used in ancient medicine

May 25, 2012
Scientists have just identified a new reason why some curry dishes, made with spices humans have used for thousands of years, might be good for you.

Recommended for you

Major cause of dementia discovered

December 11, 2017
An international team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of a major cause of dementia, with important implications for possible treatment and diagnosis.

Canola oil linked to worsened memory and learning ability in Alzheimer's

December 7, 2017
Canola oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils in the world, yet surprisingly little is known about its effects on health. Now, a new study published online December 7 in the journal Scientific Reports by researchers ...

Genetics study suggests that education reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease

December 7, 2017
The theory that education protects against Alzheimer's disease has been given further weight by new research from the University of Cambridge, funded by the European Union. The study is published today in the BMJ.

Healthy mitochondria could stop Alzheimer's

December 6, 2017
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and neurodegeneration worldwide. A major hallmark of the disease is the accumulation of toxic plaques in the brain, formed by the abnormal aggregation of a protein called ...

Alzheimer's damage in mice reduced with compound that targets APOE gene

December 6, 2017
People who carry the APOE4 genetic variant face a substantial risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.

Lithium in water associated with slower rate of Alzheimer's disease deaths

December 5, 2017
Rates of diabetes and obesity, which are important risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, also decrease if there is a particular amount of lithium in the water, says the study, published recently in the Journal of Alzheimer's ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

IronhorseA
5 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2012
"The spice compound that gives curry dishes their yellow color and pungent flavor"

Actually, the spice 'cumin' gives curry its pungent flavor, turmeric is not as intense.
At the grocer, get a container of cumin, one of turmeric, and one of curry powder. You'll find that the cumin is more like the curry than the turmeric, though you'll taste a bit of the turmeric (along with whatever other spices are included in the blend) as a complement rather than as the main flavor.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.