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MARY SHOMON'S AUTOIMMUNE NEWS
   
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Good Foods/Bad Foods, for Autoimmune Disease (Spring 2002)

The chapter on diet in Living Well With Autoimmune Disease discusses among many recommendations and considerations the potential role of a gluten-free diet and food allergies in helping deal with -- or even reverse -- some autoimmune conditions.

Recent news reports have found that for multiple sclerosis patients, one food may help, and another food hurt...

Spice Found in Curry May Fight Multiple Sclerosis

Preliminary animal studies have found that curcumin, a compound that is found in the spice turmeric – commonly used in curry -- may block the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville found that rats with an MS-like illness had few or no signs of disease after being injected with curcumin. Animals that did not receive the treatment went on to become completely paralyzed. The daily dosage given to the rats was approximate to the amount found in the typical Indian diet.

The interest in studying curcumin stemmed from observations of low levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s among the older Indian population. Curcumin is also known as a strong anti-inflammatory.

According to researchers, "In Asian countries, such as India, China, who are eating more spicy foods, more yellow compounds like curcumin...there are only very, very rare reports of MS.

Further study is going to be done on these findings, and it’s not expected that there is any immediate human application, but Vanderbilt researcher Dr. Natarajan has said "I think using this spice in their food could be of help."

Multiple Sclerosis - Smoked Sausage Link Examined

According to research presented at the 12th Meeting of the European Neurological Society in Berlin in June, 2002, eating certain smoked sausages in childhood may increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life. The research supports other findings that suggest a potential link between nitrates used in meat preparation, chemicals and smoke, and the development of certain autoimmune problems.

The researchers from Germany’s Darmstadt Clinic studied the childhood diet of 177 MS patients and 88 controls, assessing how much hot-smoked sausage, cold-smoked sausage, cold-smoked meat and other foods they ate.

Higher consumption of the three smoked meat products was associated with increased risk of MS. Eating hot-smoked sausages and animal-fat intake appeared to increase the risk of MS.

The researchers caution that results are not conclusive, and that MS, which has been traced back to the early 1800s, is not necessarily linked solely to smoking, as that had been a mode of food preparation for centuries, while nitrates are of more recent usage.

The researchers hope to conduct further similar studies.

SOURCES: Experimental Biology 2002 conference, April 2002, 12th Meeting of the European Neurological Society in Berlin in June, 2002

Find out more about MS in Living Well With Autoimmune Disease.

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