Tumeric may not just add a little spice to your next Indian dish. The popular spice is now being used to regenerate brain cells after stroke. The research by the Department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, was recently presented at the American Heart Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. Researchers expect the drug to enter human clinical trials soon. Currently there is only one drug that is now approved for ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks blood flow to the brain. This new curcumin-hybrid compound, called CNB-001 -- does not attack clots but instead repairs stroke damage at the molecular level that feed and support the all-important brain cells, neurons. Curcumin has been studied for its potential to treat brain injury and disease, and while the substance itself looks promising, it has several drawbacks, especially as an emergency stroke treatment, which must be quick to be effective: It is not well absorbed in the body, fails to reach its target in high concentrations, becomes depleted quickly, and is blocked from entering the brain by a natural protective mechanism called the blood-brain barrier. CNB-001 has many of the same benefits of curcumin but appears to be a better choice of compound for acute stroke because it crosses the blood-brain barrier, is quickly distributed in the brain, and moderates several critical mechanisms involved in neuronal survival.
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