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Turmeric as adjuvant in epilepsy

GOOD OLD turmeric can cure epilepsy, too, doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have found.

They have also found it effective in boosting memory and reducing stress.

Research carried out on rats at the department of pharmacology at AIIMS has yielded positive results. "Epilepsy requires long-term antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy, which is advised according to symptoms. However an effective prevention or cure for epilepsy hasn't been available and many drugs in use have side-effects," said Dr K. H. Reeta, assistant professor of pharmacology at AIIMS.

According to her even new classes of AEDs are not free of side- effects. Phenytoin is a commonly used AED that has been found effective against all types of seizures. But it also causes cognitive impairment (a condition in which thinking abilities are badly affected) in patients as it damages essential macromolecules of the body, including DNA.

"Toxicity is common in patients of epilepsy treated with phenytoin, and thus requires careful drug-level monitoring and supportive care," said Dr Yogendra Kumar Gupta, head, pharmacology department, AIIMS. "The goal of AED therapy is freedom from seizure without side-effects. But this hasn't been achieved. The reasons for this include misdiagnosis of the type of seizure and prescription of the wrong AED," Reeta said.

" Phytochemicals (chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants) have been shown to possess a wide range of properties that facilitate effective treatment without side- effects.

Therefore, we investigated the effects of administering turmeric to rats that suffered from phenytoin-induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress (the process in which highly reactive molecules such as free radicals impair particular cellular functions)," Dr Jogender Mehla of AIIMS said.

The research team found that turmeric, when administered orally with phenytoin, significantly prevented cognitive impairment and oxidative stress.

 

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