The results of a new study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy suggests that the popular ancient Indian spice, turmeric, could help repair the brain following an injury and could also be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases.
In order to examine the effects of turmeric on brain cells, scientists first bathed endogenous neural stem cells (NSCs), which are stem cells found within adult brains, in extracts of a chemical found in turmeric. Amazingly, they observed up to 80 percent more stem cell growth when compared to the control, which used no chemical.
Now, we all know that turmeric offers many health benefits for people, including the ability to cure and treat many diseases without side effects. Multiple studies have shown that cholesterol medications, antidepressants, pain and inflammation medications, some diabetes drugs and many others, can potentially be replaced by the ancient spice.
As remarkable as that sounds, it's even more exciting to learn that turmeric can possibly help repair brain damage in humans, following events like head trauma or stroke.
Turmeric helps generate stem cell growth in rats, study finds
Taking the experiment one step further, researchers injected aromatic ar-turmerone (a chemical extract of turmeric) into part of a rat's brain and witnessed "similar increased growth and proliferation of stem cells into neurons," according to the study's co-author Dr. Adele Ruger.
Through PET imaging, scientists discovered that the subventricular zone (SVZ) was wider, and the hippocampus had expanded in rats that received the turmeric injections.
This is quite significant considering the SVZ and hippocampus are "the two sites in adult mammalian brains where neurogenesis, the growth of neurons, is known to occur," scientists say.
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