Recent research seems to show that aromatic turmerone, a substance found in the spice turmeric, can be used in future drugs for the treatment of patients with neurological injuries, such as in cases of stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine at the Research Centre Juelich in Germany studied the effect of aromatic turmerone on neurological brain cells by injecting the substance in to rat’s brains. When they scanned the injected brain areas it showed that the areas involved in nerve cell growth was more active.
The researchers also tested the effect of the substance directly on the neurological stem cells, i.e. cells that have the ability to develop into any kind of brain cell anywhere and would theoretically have the ability to repair damage and brain disorders. But in the human brain this process does not seem to work so well.
“Among humans and other highly developed animals it does not seem like the brain stem cells are sufficient enough to repair the damage in the brain but in fish and other small animals it seems to work well,” said Maria Adele Rueger, a neuroscientist who was part of the research team, to Smitha Mund Asad from BBC News.
After examining rodents’ neuro stem cells with various concentrations of aromatic turmerone researchers found that the compound promoted the growth of neuro stem cells and the higher the concentration, the more growth.
The substance in turmeric also speeds up the differentiation process (when the cell chooses what it will evolve into) of the stem cells.
The results of this research are published in the Journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy.
“It is interesting that there would be an opportunity to give a ‘nudge’ to the stem cells to increase their efficiency with aromatic turmerone and that this in turn leads to an increased ability to repair damage in the brain,” said Rueger told the BBC.
The research team is now looking at whether the compound has the same effect on the human brain.
If they get a positive response from the research, it means a huge amount to all, who today, are the victims of more or less irreversible brain damage or neurological disorders.
I eagerly await the first reports.