Ben Zimmerman, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher investigator at the Helfgott Research Institute at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM), has received a grant from the Medical Research Foundation (MRF) to advance the understanding of aging-related health. This grant investigates natural medicine interventions and mechanisms for delaying or preventing age-related cognitive decline and dementia.
Dr. Zimmerman’s research project centers on the study of Centella asiatica, also known as gotu kola, and its potential impact on the vascular health of healthy adults between 50 and 85. The research will investigate whether a four-week treatment with Centella asiatica can enhance peripheral arterial endothelial function, an indicator of vascular health. Most studies tend to focus on cognitive interventions or pharmaceutical treatments for dementia. Dr. Zimmerman’s approach, centered on vascular health and a traditional herbal remedy, is a refreshing departure from conventional avenues of research.
This study plans to enroll 30 participants, half receiving the Centella asiatica treatment while the other half receives a placebo. The primary outcome measure will focus on the Reactive Hyperemia Index (RHI), an indicator of the body’s ability to regulate arterial blood flow—a fundamental element of vascular health. Maintaining normal or improving peripheral arterial endothelial function may be a crucial defense against the vascular mechanisms of cognitive aging. It may pave the way for more targeted and effective interventions to delay or prevent age-related cognitive decline, dementia and, ultimately, improve the quality of life for aging populations.
Dr. Zimmerman said that he is an advocate for proactive health care and believes in addressing aging-related diseases at their core. “I’m passionate about exploring potential interventions and mechanisms to postpone or prevent the onset of age-related cognitive decline and dementia,” he stated. “Preventing and delaying dementia is far more achievable than treating it once significant neurodegeneration has occurred.”
For more information, visit https://nunm.edu.