~ Curry Intake Linked with Better Cognitive Function

D Dye, Life Extension

An article published online on July 26, 2006 in advance of publication in the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed an association between increased consumption of curry and improved cognitive performance in older Asians. Curry contains turmeric, in which the compound curcumin occurs, which has been demonstrated to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in addition to reducing beta-amyloid and plaque burden in the brains of animals.

Researchers at the University of Singapore utilized data from the Singapore National Mental Health Survey of the Elderly, which surveyed 1,092 men and women aged 60 or older in 2003. In-home interviews collected information on dietary intake including curry consumption. Curry consumption of less than once in six months was quantified as "never or rarely,", intake of more than once in six months but less than once a month as "occasional," and at least once per week as "often."

The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was used to assess memory, attention, language, sensorimotor skills and visuospatial ability. Participants who reported consuming curry "often" had higher MMSE test scores than those who occasionally, or "never or rarely" consumed curry, and they experienced nearly half the risk of cognitive impairment than the risk experienced by those who never or rarely consumed it. Even subjects whose intake of curry was reported as occasional experienced a 38 percent reduction in risk compared to those who rarely consumed it.

The authors observed that India, a country in which turmeric is widely consumed, has a four-fold lower prevalence of Alzheimer's disease among individuals between the ages of 70 and 79 than that which occurs among this age group in the United States. They note that the results of the current study suggest a significant benefit on cognitive function with even low to moderate levels of curry consumption.

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