Monday, October 30, 2006

Eat more curry

Curry Ingredient May Help Fight Alzheimer's

October 27, 2006 08:42:38 PM PST
By Angela Pirisi
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Curcumin, a component of curry and turmeric, seems to help the immune system get rid of amyloid beta -- the protein that builds up to form damaging plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

The findings build on previous research linking curry consumption to reduced Alzheimer's risk, including one study that found that only 1 percent of elderly Indians developed the disease -- a quarter of the rate seen in the United States.

Now, preliminary findings from the University of California, Los Angeles, suggest that curcumin comes to the aid of immune system cells called macrophages to clear away amyloid beta.

"We know that macrophages aren't working properly in Alzheimer's patients, since they seem to be defective in cleaning amyloid-beta from brain slices", explained lead researcher Dr. Milan Fiala, a researcher with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System.

"We have found that curcumin can help some macrophages to function properly in a test tube," Fiala said. He said more work is needed to see if the spice works similarly in the human brain, however.

Curcumin is already known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Earlier research by another UCLA team found that curcumin-fed mice with Alzheimer's plaques experienced a decrease in inflammation and reduced plaque formation.

The new findings are in current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

In the study, the UCLA researchers obtained blood samples from six Alzheimer's patients and three healthy controls. They next isolated macrophages and treated them with a curcumin solution for 24 hours, then added amyloid beta.

Macrophages from three of the Alzheimer's patients were observed to start ingesting the plaque-forming proteins.

Over the past five years, Fiala's team has studied the immune function of over 100 Alzheimer's patients. Last June, the team helped establish the immune system's key role in Alzheimer's disease.

"Our research has helped to identify why the brain isn't being cleared of amyloid beta in Alzheimer's disease patients," Fiala said. "The immune system can attack and remove amyloid-beta from the brain, but the job is not done properly in Alzheimer's patients."

Fiala said macrophages may be as important for Alzheimer's disease as insulin is for diabetes. "If we can improve the immune system, we can help the body's natural ability to clear damaging plaques," he said.

"In terms of treatment implications, it's very interesting that curcumin seems to help the brain clear away beta amyloid," noted Dr. Sam Gandy, chair of the medical and scientific advisory council at the Alzheimer's Association.

"The study also shows an additional mechanism [besides curcumin's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties] that looks at the actual clean-up of plaques," said Gandy, who is also director of the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Fiala believes his team's research into the role of macrophages in Alzheimer's disease patients may one day point to new approaches for diagnosing -- and even treating -- the illness.

Testing immune-cell response may also offer other researchers a novel way to assess the effectiveness of drugs in clearing amyloid beta from the brain. It might also help doctors individualize treatment, Fiala said.

Curcumin appears to have few side effects, if any, he added. "We can only say what we see in test tubes, but we don't see any toxic effects with curcumin, even administered in high doses," Fiala said.

Curcumin's health benefits may extend beyond Alzheimer's disease. One recent six-month study, carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, found that daily doses of the spice were associated with a nearly 60 percent lower risk for colon polyps, a known precursor to colon cancer.

So, experts say, while it may be too early to recommend a dish of curry to help stave off cancer or Alzheimer's, it nonetheless appears healthy -- and tasty -- to add curry powder to your spice rack.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Arizona 3

Here is the complete album of our trip to Arizona. Use the slide show button to get the best result.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Arizona 2

A night shot of the cacti in our hotel campus with the beautiful night sky as the backdrop. Click on the photo to enlarge. (No - that's not a spec of dirt on your monitor - it's a star!) Posted by Picasa


Beautiful blue skies, warm soothing fall, open countryside, neat roads, elegant mountains, un-imaginable cacti, nice people, cool red rocks, Grand Canyon. That, in a few words is Arizona. We happen to spend a few days in Scottsdale Az and we really liked it there. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 09, 2006

Washington Post profiles India/Indians in the DC area

“While noting that their affection for India has never flagged, some Indians say they now feel more proud of their heritage. More immigrants who planned to stay in the United States for good are reconsidering. And as India sprouts Western-style shopping malls and gleaming outposts of U.S. companies, a small but growing number of Indians -- particularly affluent male technology workers and retiring baby boomers --- are leading dual lives in the countries.”

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Daily Show: What Exactly Is President Bush's Job?

This has got to be the most hilarious of Jon Stewart's show.

About myself

For those who don’t know me. I am a graduate student – pursuing a PhD. My PhD is in the area of Computer Engineering and when people ask me what I do or what my future work would be like – I ask them first if they know what a chip is – depending on their answer – I go a further. If they say that the only chip they know are the potato kind – I tell them I help their cell phones work well or I help digital signals go from point A to point B without getting lost or get degraded.

There is neat little snippet of a signal integrity (SI) engineer’s business card and the questions he asks during his ‘therapy’ sessions floating around in the SI discussion forums.

-"Arthur Fraser Transmission Line Therapist"

It always conjured up what the Therapist would be asking the signal:

"How long have you had these paranoid feelings that you will be


"Have you always felt there are aggressors out to get you?"

"Have you always coupled with your neighbors?"

"And could you describe in more detail all this ringing your

experiencing - is it like church bells?

"And you say that no matter where you go, you always experience a delay

in your travel?"

"This ground bounce you mention, is this related to a seismic event?

"As your therapist I am concerned you always refer to yourself as a

victim, do you always see yourself as a victim?"

"And you say you feel you are just meandering through life?"

Friday, October 06, 2006

On Pluto

For several days now – I wanted to write about this planet – more like an apology that we owe to it. Here’s my declaration to the astronomical, physical, aeronautical, or any other fancy scientific body that concerns itself with Pluto. In the common law legal system, there is this wonderful thing called ‘The Statute of Limitation’. Do you guys have anything like that? It’s been what – three quarters of a century since you classified Pluto a planet – and suddenly you yank the title from it? C’ mon – even the IRS has more heart!

Just leave it like it is – who cares if you want to call Pluto a planet or a dwarf planet – or a Macaca planet – does it make a difference? Like some astronomical body in Andromeda is going to say – hmmm – the idiots on Earth have deemed Pluto to be a non-planet – so now we cannot plan an attack on it. Leave it as it is – and move on – do something that changes the way we live and use your brains to try and improve global warming or glacial erosion and Ozone depletion.