Curcumin Keeps T-Cells Alive

Yesterday I came upon a recent study on curcumin and immune disorders. Published in the June 2007 edition of the “Journal of Biological Chemistry” (, it is titled Curcumin Prevents Tumor-induced T Cell Apoptosis through Stat-5a-mediated Bcl-2 Induction. Yes, I know, the second part of the title sounds nonsensical to non-scientific minds like mine. But when you read the abstract (and I am hoping to get my hands on the full text), it becomes clear that curcumin protects our T-cells. Indeed, this study shows that it restores T-cells from tumour-induced apoptosis: Administration of curcumin to tumor-bearing animals resulted in restoration of progenitor, effecter, and circulating T cells. In other words, curcumin can REVERSE the damage, or some of the damage at least, done to our T-cells by cancer. Now, isn’t that fantastic news? The study concludes: Thus, these results raise the possibility of inclusion of curcumin in successful therapeutic regimens against cancer. No kidding!

An article published in “Cancer Research” in January 2007 ( also looks at curcumin and immunity. Concluding remarks: Thus, our results suggest that unlike many other anticancer agents, curcumin is not only devoid of immunosuppressive effects but also acts as immunorestorer in tumor-bearing host. I am all in favour of restoring my immune system!

Actually, this is not news to me, since a few months ago Prof. Aggarwal kindly sent me a study that he co-authored on this very topic (see my page on Curcumin and the Immune System). However, it is comforting to read a bit of updated research confirming curcumin’s strong pro-immune activities. This can only be good news for those of us who have compromised immune systems or autoimmune disorders.

Amusing Patient Reports and a Kitten

A MM listserv member posted some amusing patient reports (real ones!) yesterday, and inspired me to look up some more. Here are some of the ones she listed (thank you!):

The patient refused an autopsy.

Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

Healthy appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

She is numb from her toes down.

In Richard Lederer’s “Fractured English” and “More Anguished English,” I found a few more gems:

She is quite hard of hearing. In fact, she can’t hear at all in the left eye.

Sinuses run in the family.Carmen's kitten

He was eating his tray so I didn’t examine him.

He has an allergy to asthma.

The patient is a three-year-old who has been vomiting off and on for twelve years.

My personal favourite: the patient was bitten by a bat as he walked down the street on his thumb. Hehe.

This morning I went to visit my neighbours, who have three newborn kittens and three 1.5 month-old kittens (two different mothers, one of whom is my boy Piccolo’s mother). This is the cutest photo I took (of one of the 1.5 month-old kittens). Is cat number four on the way? 😉 My neighbours, of course, are urging me to take all their kittens! (They already have eight cats, two dogs and two turtles…)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Queen Puzzola

Puzzola showed up on our doorstep in September of 2001, almost as soon as we had moved into our home on the outskirts of Florence. She was skin and bones. Mostly bones. She was probably four or five months old at the time. Our cat-loving neighbours and I started feeding this affectionate little creature, who was clearly not a stray but had lived the first few months of her life with a family that had then abandoned her in our neighbourhood. Every time we went outside, there she was, our faithful little Puzzola, ready for some food, but also for love and caresses. Whenever we opened the front door, she would zoom inside, and we would have to rush after her and gently put her back outside. Until one day. She came inside and has stayed with us ever since. See, at the time we didn’t want another cat. We already had a cat, my Canadian cat, Keshé, whom I had gotten at a cat shelter in Toronto (unfortunately, she died of renal failure about six months after she arrived from the States, where she had been living with my parents until we got more settled here). But Puzzola was very insistent, and we had fallen in love with her, so it was just a matter of time.

Her name has a couple of meanings in Italian. In the beginning, the “aroma” emanating from her droppings in the litter box would send us scampering for shelter. I am not kidding. So the first meaning is: skunk (I happen to think skunks are gorgeous creatures, by the way). Puzzola is also the common Italian name for “marigold.” And our green-eyed Puzzola is most certainly a lovely flower, as well as the sweetest cat I have ever had.

One of the funniest and most remarkable things she does is to sit on our larPuzzola pointing out the benefits of pure resveratrolge farmhouse dining room table while we eat dinner. In the beginning, it was a bit disconcerting. Now we are used to it. As soon as I finish eating and push away my plate, I raise my hand, and that is her signal. She gets up, walks across the table and climbs into my lap, purring and kneading. But the amazing thing is, she won’t budge from her spot in the corner of the table until I let her know it’s okay. If Piccolo or Priscilla get on the table mamma mia, forget it. They MAY begin by sitting down at the end of the table, looking deceptively innocent, but they will begin inching closer and closer to our plates, trying to get their silly noses in our food. So they are not really allowed on the table. (Well ) [In this photo, by the way, Puzzola is pointing out the benefits of pure resveratrol 😉 ]

Even though Puzzola gets into my lap after dinner, she is definitely my husband’s cat. She worships him (perfectly understandable). Almost every evening, especially if he is late, she waits by the front door, listening. She gets very agitated when she hears his car approaching, starts meowing and stretching upwards, as though wanting to open the door for him. She doesn’t sleep with us. Our bed is too crowded for her, with the two youngest cats on it. She also doesn’t really play. I don’t think Puzzola played much as a kitten, unlike the other two. She had to scavenge for a living until she chose us as adoptive parents. So she just sits and watches Piccolo and Priscilla roll about on the floor. If they try to involve her in their fun, she runs up to the attic. She has dignity. She is our queen.