Healthcare: On the agenda - Spice could be aid to stroke victims

In a nutshell

A new drug derived from a common spice found in curries may protect and rebuild brain cells after a stroke. Scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles created a molecule from curcumin, a crucial chemical found in turmeric, and witnessed promising results in tests with rabbits. The tests found that the drug could repair damage at a molecular level and that it is linked to the survival of the brain cells' neurons.

- What did The Stroke Association say?

Shorty after the research was presented at the American Heart Association International Stroke Conference, The Stroke Association released a statement saying the results looked 'promising'. Dr Sharlin Ahmed, research liaison officer at The Stroke Association, commented: 'When a stroke strikes, the brain is starved of oxygen, causing brain cells to die or to be damaged. There is a great need for treatments that can protect brain cells after a stroke and improve recovery. Turmeric is known to have many health benefits, yet this is the first significant research to show that it could be beneficial to stroke patients by encouraging new cells to grow and preventing cell death after a stroke.'

- PR strategy

The American Heart Association sent out a press release highlighting the findings to international media. The Stroke Association then put out a statement responding to the research, which helped boost the UK press coverage.

- Press coverage

In the UK, the story appeared on BBC News online and in national press including the Daily Mail and The Independent.

150k - The estimated number of people who suffer a stroke in the UK each year

53k - The number of deaths attributed to strokes in the UK each year

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