Wednesday August 15, 2018

Researchers: Dementia risk in US lowest among Asian Americans

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New York: Researchers said the chance of the brain disorder is lowest among Asian Americans while examining dementia risk in the US.

The study compared six ethnic and racial groups within the same geographic population and found significant variation in dementia incidence among them.

“This is the only research that directly compares dementia for these six racial and ethnic groups, representing the true ageing demographic of the United States in a single study population,” said study lead author Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Francisco.

The researchers found dementia incidence to be highest in Blacks and American Indian/Alaska Natives, lowest among Asian Americans, and intermediate among Latinos, Pacific Islanders and Whites.

The study population included more than 274,000 Northern California members of Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest private integrated health care system with more than 10 million members.

The researchers used electronic health records covering patient visits over 14 years from January 2000 through December 2013 to identify participants diagnosed with dementia, as well as their race and ethnicity.

The researchers found that dementia incidence over the study period ranged from an average annual rate of 26.6 cases per 1,000 for Blacks, and 22.2 cases per 1,000 for American Indians/Alaskan Natives, to 15.2 cases per 1,000 for Asian Americans.

In between were Latinos and Pacific Islanders with an average annual rate of 19.6 cases per 1,000 and Whites with 19.3 per 1,000.

The results were published online in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.(IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)