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Curcuma longa (TheracuminR)

As human life expectancy increases there is a corresponding increase in the incidence of chronic diseases such as dementia. Individuals with cognitive impairment, a known precursor to dementia,experience a decline in previously attained cognitive function. The manifestation of dementia usually occurs in people older than 65 years and is often associated with other age-related health issues. However, cognitive impairment and dementia are not an inevitable consequence of the aging process; implementation of preventable health care strategies that include therapeutic lifestyle considerations, combined with public health initiatives, can greatly reduce the incidence and delay of cognitive decline. Current evidence supports the recognition that neurotransmitter balance, dietary and lifestyle habits, nutritional status, and metabolic mechanisms, which include inflammation, microbiota imbalance, oxidative stress,and impaired mitochondrial function, are important variables that affect brain function. There is an expanding body of clinical research that associates chronic systemic inflammation to a broad spectrum of health problems that include cardiovascular disease, autism, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, as well as cognitive impairment. Central to the focus of this article is the accumulating research on the cognitive benefits associated with curcumin, a polyphenolic antioxidant, the major bioactive constituent found in the phytomedicine turmeric (Curcuma longa), that has demonstrated neuroprotective and inflammatory properties on brain function.