Drinking to forget? OK. But first, eat a curry... QUICK!

Turmeric-derived substance could 'SPOTLESS MIND' you

Chicken Jalfrezi and rice with a beer. Pic by Shutterstock

If you've had the kind of Patch Tuesday that ends in a mass attack of BSODs, new vulns in Java and someone advertising your routes as traversing Norfolk Island, you're quite likely to head for the pub and thence to a curry.

According to research published in Neuropsychopharmacology, is that one of curry's important active ingredients, the tumeric-derived curcumin, can inhibit the formation of fear-related memories in the brain... but if you're going to zap 'em while they're forming, you'd better eat that curry stat.

That's right, reader: your post-pub neckfiller could help you front up tomorrow, all angst forgotten (if the hangover doesn't ruin the start to your day).

According to the paper's abstract, the researchers tested the Pavlovian fear memory, which they describe as “a widely studied animal model of traumatic memory formation in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)”.

As Science Alert explains, that model “involves creating a negative association in an animal’s memory with a particular object, place, smell, or sound” – the most familiar example being giving lab rats a mild electric shock to create an aversion.

The curcumin study took three groups of rats: a control group on a normal diet, with no fear conditioning; a group on a normal diet given fear conditioning; and a group on a diet enriched with 1.5 per cent curcumin, also given fear conditioning.

The study claims: “The curcumin-enriched diet was observed to effectively impair the reconsolidation of both a recently formed (within 24 hours) as well as an older, well-consolidated (two-week old) fear memory, suggesting that even older fear memories are susceptible to reconsolidation impairment using this compound."

The researchers add: “Furthermore, we observed that fear memories that fail to reconsolidate under the influence of dietary curcumin are impaired in an enduring manner; unlike extinguished fear memories, they are not subject to reinstatement or renewal.”

The study (part of the increasing interest in the pharmaceutical possibilities of curcumin) would need replication, but it has a serious application. PTSD is a serious and debilitating problem, and anything that eases the plight of those experiencing it is surely a good thing. ®




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