Turmeric can prevent cell-death and can also encourage new cells to grow - and that too after a stroke! In other words, this oriental curry spice has properties that can repair a significant number of physical damage a body undergoes following a stroke. This has been revealed by medical researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center here recently.
It is worth mentioning that Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medical science, has been using turmeric since centuries as a medicine.
Strokes generally cut off oxygenated blood to the brain cells, and thus kill the brain cells. Strokes further set off a chain reaction that may extend the affected region. In this way, the patients become vulnerable to an increased level of disability.
Curcumin, one of the turmeric components, has beneficial properties on human physique. The American team reported their findings at a stroke conference along with their dovetailed version of the turmeric compound - Curcumin. They had to modify the turmeric component as it could not pass the 'blood brain barrier' that shields the patient's brain from toxic molecules. Christened 'CNB-001', the modified compound of curcumin can have beneficial effects on stroke patients.
The head of this research team, Dr Paul Lapchak, told the conference that the drug had an effect on "several critical mechanisms" that keep brain cells alive for several critical hours following a stroke. CNB-001 appeared to repair the four "signaling pathways" that help fuel the runaway destruction of brain cells, Dr Lapchak said.
These laboratory tests on rabbits indicated that in humans suffering a stroke, their drug could be effective up to three hours - approximately the identical time-period the presently used drugs particularly the "clot-busting" ones take.
Lauding their findings, The Stroke Association has dubbed it as the "first significant research". The Association also hinted that the compound 'CNB-001' could aid stroke patients. Dwelling on the significance of the drug, Dr Sharlin Ahmed of the Association has commented, "This is the first significant research to show that turmeric could be beneficial to stroke patients by encouraging new cells to grow and preventing cell death after a stroke." She further said, "There is a great need for new treatments which can protect brain cells after a stroke and improve recovery... The results look promising, however it is still very early days and human trials need to be undertaken."
Dr Lapchak stated that researches are on to develop a viable medicine for human use. Clinical trials on mankind are being scheduled following the successful clinical tests on rabbits. Their drug not only reached the brain cells but also controlled movement and muscle problems. He, however, pointed out that drugs for human might take some more time.