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Neuroprotective dietary supplements for chronic spinal cord injury
Date:6/26/2012

Charlottesville, VA (June 26, 2012). Researchers from the Department of Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at UCLA have found that a diet enriched with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and curcumin, a component of the Indian spice turmeric, can protect the injured spinal cord and minimize the clinical and biochemical effects of spinal cord myelopathy in rats. This finding is fleshed out in the article "Dietary therapy to promote neuroprotection in chronic spinal cord injury. Laboratory investigation," by Langston Holly, M.D., and colleagues, published today online in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. DHA reduces inflammation and provides structural material to plasma membranes. Curcumin produces strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Both agents are safe to use and have been documented to have positive effects on the injured brain. Thus the researchers hypothesized that the combined effects of DHA and curcumin could protect the spinal cord from the cascade of cellular and related biological injuries that result from chronic cord injury.

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy is the most common disorder of the spine found in middle-aged patients. Neurological deficits associated with this disorder are related to a primary mechanical spinal injury that is followed by a secondary biological injury. Wear and tear on the spine, due to age or congenital narrowing of the spinal canal, leads to mechanical compression of the spinal cord. This cord compression in turn leads to biological cell injury or death and consequent neurological dysfunction. The primary mechanical injury can usually be corrected by surgery or other management strategies; to date, the secondary biological injury has been more difficult to treat.

The authors set out to develop a noninvasive way to promote neuroprotection from the biological injury that follows spinal cord compr
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Contact: Gillian Shasby
gshasby@thejns.org
434-924-5555
Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group
Source:Eurekalert

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