5-speed listening (Level 6)

Curry spice may help repair brain cells



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Scientists believe the spice turmeric could help the brain to heal itself. This is encouraging news for those affected by degenerative brain diseases. Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Germany examined the effects of properties found in turmeric on rats. The researchers injected rats with a compound from turmeric. After scanning the rodents' brains, they found that parts of the brain known for nerve cell growth were more active. They say the spice could lead to new drugs for treating strokes, Alzheimer's and other diseases. Lead scientist Dr Adele Rueger said it was possible the compound could "boost the effectiveness" of our brain cells, and "help boost repair in the brain".

Research is still in its infancy and more trials are needed to see what potential it has for humans. Dr Laura Phipps, from the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, told the BBC that it was too early to decide whether or not the research will be groundbreaking. She said: "It is not clear whether the results of this research would translate to people, or whether the ability to generate new brain cells in this way would benefit people with Alzheimer's disease." She added: "We'd need to see further studies to fully understand this compound's effects in the context of a complex disease like Alzheimer's. Until then, people shouldn't take this as a sign to stock up on supplies of turmeric for the spice rack."

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