Curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, is proving effective at preventing a key process involved in the development of Parkinson's disease, a Michigan State University study has found.
A team of researchers led by Basir Ahmad has reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry that curcumin blocks the “clumping” of proteins – the first step in the development of diseases such as Parkinson's.
Proteins are chains of amino acids that play key roles in the functioning of cells. When they bind or “clump” together, it can lead to health problems.
The MSU researchers found that curcumin blocks that process at the cellular level. Researchers said the findings suggest the results could lead scientists to identify drugs that use the process to treat Parkinson’s and other diseases.
"Curcumin's usefulness as an actual drug may be pretty limited since it doesn't go into the brain easily where this [clumpgin] is taking place," researchers explained. "But this kind of study showcases the technique of measuring reconfiguration and opens the door for developing drug treatments."