The Spice That Boosts Memory

An active compound found in the Indian spice turmeric could help improve memory and ease depression among those with age-related mental decline, new research suggests. Scientists at UCLA gathered 40 volunteers between 50 and 90 years old, all with some memory complaints but none with dementia. Each person was randomly assigned to take either a supplement of curcumin or a placebo pill twice a day for 18 months; over that period they were given memory tests, mood questionnaires, and brain scans to detect the clumps of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The results were striking: Those taking curcumin saw a 28 percent improvement in their memory function, compared with a slight decline for those in the placebo group. They also had better mood scores and less plaque buildup in two brain regions responsible for memory, decision making, and emotion. “Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain,” study leader (Read More)