Turmeric true benefits... ?

Medical Professional

Are the health benefits of turmeric too good to be true?

Aug 7, 2018
Alzheimer's disease. Diabetes. Arthritis. Unwanted hair growth. Baldness. Infertility. Erectile dysfunction. Hangovers. Glaucoma. Cancer. If you have an ailment, there's a good chance that someone, somewhere, is studying whether turmeric can treat it. There are more than 15,000 manuscripts published about curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, and about 50 manuscripts added to this collection each week, according to the National Institutes of Health. "It's really taken on sort of panacea-like properties in terms of the things it's being studied for and the things it has been reported to be useful for," said D. Craig Hopp, deputy director of the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. What is turmeric? Turmeric is a popular spice similar to ginger, known for its bright yellow color and use in curry powders and mustards. Also called "Indian saffron," the plant grows across India, other areas of Asia and Central America. Turmeric flavors a range of dishes, is a vital component of certain religious rituals and has been used for medicinal purposes for nearly 4,000 years. "There are plenty of studies currently being done but already good evidence that turmeric can help control knee pain from arthritis as well as decrease the likelihood of a heart attack after bypass surgery," said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent. Turmeric is one of many plants used in ayurveda, a traditional South Asian system of medicine, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is used to treat issues such as breathing problems, rheumatism, fatigue and pain. "There's a distinction that's very important to make between turmeric, which is the plant and the spice, and what people often study, which is the curcumin, which is the proposed active constituent in turmeric," Hopp said. "And even curcumin, as it's usually sold or researched, is not a single compound. It's usually a collection of three or four compounds that are called curcuminoids, collectively." The exact amount varies, but the turmeric root contains up to 5% of these curcuminoids typically, the National Institutes of Health says. A gap between theory and practice Extracting the curcumin and translating its power into a successful treatment is still a major challenge for researchers, experts say. There is epidemiologic evidence that people who eat a diet rich in turmeric can potentially attribute their substantial health benefits to the spice, Hopp said, citing a lower incidence of colon cancer in the Indian subcontinent. "But it's very difficult to sort of project what you see in terms of an activity in a cell to what's going to actually happen in the human," he added. "There's a sort of a disconnect between what appears to be a lot of very promising activity in vitro, which is just in the cells. And contrast that with where it's been studied in clinical trials as humans, where there's been virtually no evidence of benefits." One reason for that disconnect is that apart from turmeric, curcumin has biological properties that make it poorly bioavailable: It is rapidly metabolized and excreted, and very little of it gets absorbed into the body. The chemical doesn't make it to the places where it could be of help. The context in which turmeric is traditionally used is important as well, Hopp said. Black pepper is often found alongside turmeric. Piperine, the substance that gives pepper its bite, increases curcumin's bioavailability. "It keeps the door open," Hopp said. "As things go into and out of cells, piperine is sort of like a doorstop that allows things to go in and out of the cells much more readily." Turmeric's link to glaucoma and Alzheimer's Curcumin also does not dissolve easily, and much of it does not enter the bloodstream, said researchers in a study investigating the effects of turmeric in treating glaucoma, recently published in the journal Scientific Reports. One would need to take as many as 24 500-milligram tablets of curcumin a day to get an effective dose, increasing the risk of gastrointestinal side effects like vomiting and diarrhea. "If you think about it, in a curry, there's only 700 milligrams of turmeric," said Dr. Francesca Cordeiro, professor of ophthalmology at Imperial College London and one of the authors of the study. "You'd need to eat 200 curries a day to get that therapeutic level." Instead of choosing capsules or cuisine as their method of treatment delivery, Cordeiro's team used eye drops infused with a stabilizer that increased the curcumin's solubility on their rat subjects twice a day. "We used nanotechnology," Cordeiro said. "The advantage of it being so small is it can cross into the eye as an eye drop into the back of the eye. Once it enters, it can affect the nerve cells there, and that direct effect can lead to them not dying. It's what we call neuroprotection." Three weeks later, the untreated control group had a 23% reduction in retinal cells compared with the eye drop group. This loss was prevented by treatment with curcumin, Cordeiro explained. The researchers' next steps include clinical trials and exploring the possibility of using the retina as a "window to the brain" by developing the drops into a diagnostic resource for Alzheimer's disease. "Curcumin is fluorescent," Cordeiro said. "If you put the correct wavelength to it, it fluoresces, and it binds to the parts that are implicated in Alzheimer's, the beta amyloid plaque," one of the substances in the brain that is a hallmark of the condition. Even if the risks of taking turmeric as a supplement appear to be limited, Hopp recommends discussing such treatments with a doctor, "especially if they're taking other medications, so that the doctor has a full picture of what the patient is consuming and can manage that care properly," he said.

US in the battery global bussines.

The US is in the game — not because it’s manufacturing the batteries, but because it’s the inventor of most of the technology that’s out there. The battery that’s in everyone’s smartphone was invented by John Goodenough, an American, 95 years old, who still works at the University of Texas at Austin. And then the battery that’s in most electric cars was invented by Mike Thackeray at Argonne National Laboratory. So we were ahead on the invention, but we’re not making them at that scale.

The US is losing the high-stakes global battery war - The Verge

4 hours ago - Though we rarely give them much thought, batteries — specifically lithium-ion batteries ...The US is losing the high-stakes global battery war.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Creole Language and Culture: Part of Cuba's Cultural Patrimony.

"Many people don't know that an estimated 70% of Cubans have African ancestors..."
 AfroCubaWeb, sa Last modified: November 02, 2009 Academy of Cuban Folklore & Dance, Seattle

Caribbean Cultural Center, NY Center for Cuban Studies, NY
Ingathering: The Literary Journal of Arts & Letters from the Black Diaspora in the Americas, Chicago Kwame Touré Work Study Institute and Library
Sociedad Marti-Maceo, Tampa: AfroCubans in Tampa Percussion Artists Workshop (PAWS), LA
Stage of the Arts, Inc.: Matanzas in LA Now has its own web site. Ile Ijuba Yoruba, Miami, Inc.
by Susan Hurlich, Havana, 21 May 1998

The first question asked by all Haitians who visit Cuba from outside the country is about Guantanamo, which has been historically the most important region of the country for Haitian residents and descendants - that is, for Creole language and culture. Although no census of Haitians (residents or descendants) in Cuba has been done to date, in the 1980's a group of sociologists from Guantanamo did a study on genealogies of Haitians living in the province. At that time, they estimated that some 45,000 descendants of Haitians and another 4,000 native Haitians were living throughout the province

Today, there are over 40 groups around the country that promote Creole culture, such as the fabulous choral group, "Desandann", which sings traditional Creole songs with a delicacy, harmony and passion that is gripping. Based in Camaguey and recently returned from a tour in New York, "Desandann" members are all descendants of Haitians.
An annual carnival, begun by Haitians and immigrants from Barbados who arrived in Cuba during the nineteenth century, still takes place. Cuba also participates in international festivals dedicated to Haitian culture - in July '94, such a festival was held in Santiago de Cuba.
The richness of Creole as a language comes from three continents: Africa, America and Europe. It is a mixture of Spanish, French and English. Although its history has been little studied, some think it initially developed as a commercial language between Europeans and the indigenous peoples and slaves brought from the Antilles and the Indian Ocean.
Creole language and culture first entered Cuba with the arrival of Haitian immigrants at the start of the nineteenth century. Haiti was a French colony, and the final years of the 1791-1804 Haitian Revolution brought a wave of French settlers fleeing with their Haitian slaves to Cuba. They came mainly to the east, and especially Guantanamo, where the French later introduced sugar cultivation, constructed sugar refineries and developed coffee plantations. By 1804, some 30,000 French were living in Baracoa and Maisi, the furthest eastern municipalities of the province.
Later, Haitians continued to come to Cuba to work as brazeros (hand workers, from the Spanish word brazo, meaning "arm") in the fields cutting cane. Their living and working conditions were not much better than slavery. Although they planned to return to Haiti, most stayed on in Cuba.
For years, many Haitians and their descendants in Cuba did not identify themselves as such or speak Creole. In the eastern part of the island, many Haitians suffered discrimination. But since1959, this discrimination has stopped.
After Spanish, Creole is the second most-spoken language in Cuba. Over 400,000 Cubans either speak it fluently, understand it but speak with difficulty, or have at least some familiarity with the language. It is mainly in those communities where Haitians and their descendant live that Creole is most spoken. In addition to the eastern provinces, there are also communities in Ciego de Avila and Camaguey provinces where the population still maintains Creole, their mother tongue. Classes in Creole are offered in Guantanamo, Matanzas and the City of Havana. There is a Creole-language radio program.
In February '91, the Association of Haitian Residents and Descendants was formed as a non-governmental socio-cultural organization in Cuba. Its objectives are to unite the Cuban-Haitian community and to recover their traditions, customs and culture. Formed initially as a national organization, provincial affiliate quickly appeared in Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, Ciego de Avila and Guantanamo, as well as municipal associations in various locations.
In April '98, Bannzil Kreyol Kiba was officially founded as a cultural institution under the sponsorship of the Caribbean Association of Cuba. Plans are already underway to establish provincial affiliates in Cienfuegos - which has an active Creole theatre group - and Guantanamo. Members include Cubans, Haitians and students in Cuba from Creole-speaking countries. They pay a monthly fee of five pesos.
"The aim of Bannzil Kreyol Kiba is to rediscover and preserve Creole culture in Cuba," explains Hilario Batista Feliz, president of Bannzil. "We want to study and promote Creole culture and language as part of Cuba's national cultural patrimony."
This year's program of activities for Bannzil is ambitious. It includes seminars, courses, competitions, monthly "Creole Afternoons" full of cultural and educational activities, and much more. At the municipal level, many of these activities are done in collaboration with "Poder Popular" (local government structures) and Cultural Centres. The "Kiba Kreyol" musical group, consisting of twelve singers and drummers, has already been formed as part of Bannzil.
Other plans include organizing the "Kiba Kreyol 98" International Festival later this year, creating affiliated groups of Bannzil in other provinces, celebrating "International Day of Creole"(1) around the country, and assisting all groups interested in Creole.
In April of this year, the first Creole library in Cuba was inaugurated. Located in the library of the oldest trades school in the country, the"Fernando Aguado y Rico" Polytechnic Centre in Central Havana, it will provide a home to some of the substantial literature written in Creole.
The library "is an example of the struggle of a people to maintain its language and culture," says Alberto Mendez, deputy director of the National Commission of UNESCO in Cuba, who spoke at the inauguration.
In eastern Cuba, the Association of "Tumba Francesa" (tumba is drum) is another example of the vitality of Creole culture. Located in La Loma de Chivo (Goat Hillock), a part of Guantanamo City with a concentrated presence of Haitian descendants as well as descendants from English-speaking Caribbean islands, Tumba Francesa is a vibrant hub of cultural traditions for residents of the area. Here one finds the rumba - that spontaneous, sensual and playful dance that has its roots in Afro-Cuban culture - as well as traditional Haitian dances.
Dalia Timitoc is one of the many "faces" of the resurgence and vibrancy of Creole culture in Cuba. A singer and song writer, she is the daughter of a Haitian father and Jamaican-descended mother.
"My father was a sugar cane cutter in a sugar central in Monte Verde de Yateras (Guantanamo province)," says Dalia. "In my songs, I am searching for and celebrating roots."
"I'm fanatic about the Caribbean," continues Dalia, "and I sing a bit in Creole."
In addition to singing old Haitian songs, Dalia also sings about nature, women as the saviours of the earth, indigenous Indian peoples, etc. When she sings, she accompanies herself on a special drum which she calls Oluboku ("drum of peace"). Abouta meter long, it hangs around her neck by a strap and tapers down to a point, much like a cone, encircled with several rings of small bells.
"I've had this drum for eighteen years, explains Dalia, "and I'm not sure if it has African or Haitian roots. I'm investigating this."
Growing up in Holguin, Dalia began singing at twelve years of age. She has written books, been in movies, holds a monthly song gathering in her home including a children's choir, and is conducting a research project called "Que no Muera las Raizes" (So that the Roots Don't Die) which involves a compilation of short songs going back to African and Spanish origins.
So that the roots don't die - whether African, Caribbean, European or a rich mixture of all. And at the end of the day, the blend is distinctly Cuban.
(1) Today, eight million people speak Creole worldwide. Because of the importance of this language, in 1979 the 28th of October was declared "International Day of Creole". It is celebrated in all Creole-speaking countries with festivals, workshops, competitions, seminars and cultural activities.
Contacting AfroCubaWeb
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