February 19, 2012
Curcumin Boosts Neurogenesis In Aged Rats

A group of researchers mostly in Shanghai but also in Bangalore and the Netherlands finds that aged rats given a diet with curcumin (found in the spice turmeric) had more neurogenesis and increased cognition. (h/t Lou Pagnucco)

We assessed behavioural performance and hippocampal cell proliferation in aged rats after 6- and 12-week curcumin-fortified diets. Curcumin enhanced non-spatial and spatial memory, as well as dentate gyrate cell proliferation as compared to control diet rats. We also investigated underlying mechanistic pathways that might link curcumin treatment to increased cognition and neurogenesis via exon array analysis of cortical and hippocampal mRNA transcription. The results revealed a transcriptional network interaction of genes involved in neurotransmission, neuronal development, signal transduction, and metabolism in response to the curcumin treatment.

Sounds good at first glance.

The results suggest a neurogenesis- and cognition-enhancing potential of prolonged curcumin treatment in aged rats, which may be due to its diverse effects on genes related to growth and plasticity.

But even if the effect is similar in humans the question arises: Will sustained higher curcumin consumption lower or raise all cause mortality? The body has lots of things going wrong with it as we age. Trying to counteract these changes with a chemical compound carries substantial risks. For example, turning up neurogenesis might so increase the rate of neural stem cell division that neural stem cells wear out more rapidly. Their telomeres would wear down sooner (and shorter telomeres are bad news for life expectancy). So you might get a boost of cognitive performance for some years. But then once your neural stem cells become worn out you could find yourself checking out of the Life Hotel sooner than otherwise necessary.

What we really need: Ways to make younger and healthier stem cells that can be injected into the body in various places as we age. This will be easiest for stem cells for blood cells since just injection in the blood will probably get them where they need to be. But getting youthful stem cells into all the (many) places they need to go in the brain might turn out to be extremely difficult. Anyone got a good sense of how hard that'll be to accomplish?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 February 19 07:19 PM  Aging Diet Brain Studies


Comments
Jake said at February 19, 2012 8:37 PM:

Curcumin stimulate autophagy. Autophagy is the cell cleanup process necessary for brain health. Autophagy declines with age but curcumin seams to slow down the decline.

john personna said at February 20, 2012 6:00 AM:

I finally perfected my quick curry. I'm happy. Brown about a pound of chicken, set aside. Brown a finely chopped brown onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp red chilie flakes, 1 tsp garahm masala. "Temper" spices a bit. Add a can of Vietnamese coconut milk (thinner), a tablespoon of fish sauce, and apply stick blender. Add back chicken and maybe a pound of cooked (microwaved) chopped potatoes. Simmer 20-30 minutes.

There are more elaborate curries, but that one delivers my tumeric, onion, and garlic.

john personna said at February 20, 2012 6:01 AM:

OMG, I need more coffee. I said "cumin" when of course I meant "tumeric!"

TTT said at February 22, 2012 11:49 AM:

Turmeric is very healthy and is even an anti-cancer agent.

It is a staple of Indian cuisine (and Thai, to a lesser extent), with people there eating it twice a day.

Indians who are not poor often cross age 90-100.

TTT said at February 22, 2012 11:58 AM:

There are more elaborate curries, but that one delivers my tumeric, onion, and garlic.

There are dozens of different ways to not just get turmeric, onion, and garlic, but also add ginger, cinnamon, tomatoes, and cabbage/cauliflower to the mix all in once dish (all of which are either anti-cancer agents, or anti-aging foods).

Google "Cauliflower Sabzi"
As well as "Dal Fried"

Sprinkle some cilantro on top for taste, as well as heavy-metal detox.

Augustus said at February 22, 2012 12:55 PM:

Adding some whey protein to the diet may cause the shortening of the telomeres to stop shortening. Plenty of the favorable different Branch Chain Amino Acids in the whey.

Ptrck said at February 22, 2012 2:20 PM:

"For example, turning up neurogenesis might so increase the rate of neural stem cell division that neural stem cells wear out more rapidly. Their telomeres would wear down sooner (and shorter telomeres are bad news for life expectancy). So you might get a boost of cognitive performance for some years. But then once your neural stem cells become worn out you could find yourself checking out of the Life Hotel sooner than otherwise necessary."

One thing I've often wondered - wouldn't this argument also apply to physical exercise (as well as mental exercise)? Doesn't exercise lead to faster wearing out of many types of cells, thus greater rate of cell division, thus faster shortening of telomeres?

Da55id said at February 22, 2012 3:38 PM:

My sense is that the body has myriad biotransactions that behave according to a U curve where either side of the U is deadly (overdose, overdone, underdosed, underdone eg. exercise), and there is a narrow region (for instance homeostasis) where things are optimal. Finding the multifaceted global minima (bottom of the U) likely holds great value, but is currently far behind our computational capabilities. Unfortunately, each of us is an ongoing "biocomputational" experiment...

Randall Parker said at February 22, 2012 9:00 PM:

TTT,

Show me the evidence that high turmeric consumption reduces all cause mortality when consumed for a long period of time.

Da55id,

I completely agree. There's some ideal level of consumption of a variety of foods. But good luck finding it. The Mediterranean Diet makes sense, probably with some paleo enhancements. But beyond that it is hard to say what's best to eat.

We need biotechnologies for repair because even if we could know the ideal diet we'd still accumulate aging damage. Diet optimization isn't going to buy us that much. We need stem cell therapies, gene therapies, and the like.

The Egyptian said at February 27, 2012 6:06 PM:

I'm tempted to up my turmeric intake significantly, but I've read that it interferes with cytochome P450. Does anyone know to what extent at what doses? Would I have to stop eating it before I went on certain drugs? How long would it take to clear?

gejala stroke said at August 29, 2016 8:31 PM:

Gejala Storoke ringan dan cara menanganinya secara alami harus diperhatikan selalu secara serius , karena saat ini kasus penyakit stroke banyak terjadi dikalangan masyarakat dari mulai stroke ringan hingga stroke berat.
Meski yang dialami masih gejala stroke ringan tapi penanganannya harus secara tepat karena bisa berakibat fatal jika tidak diatasi dengan obat stroke yang ampuh. Sebelum kita membahas lebih lanjut mengenai pengobatan stroke, maka kita harus mempelajari dulu tentang apa itu penyakit stroke, penyebab penyakit stroke, gejala stroke,
serta bahaya apa yang bisa muncul? Setelah itu baru kita bisa memilih obat stroke yang tepat yang akan kita gunakan.

Post a comment
Comments:
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
URL:
Remember info?

                       
Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright