, Volume 39, Issue 5–6, pp 571–584 | Cite as

Chronic curcumin treatment improves spatial working memory but not recognition memory in middle-aged rhesus monkeys

  • Tara L. MooreEmail author
  • Bethany Bowley
  • Penny Shultz
  • Samantha Calderazzo
  • Eli Shobin
  • Ronald J. Killiany
  • Douglas L. Rosene
  • Mark B. Moss
Original Article


Studies of both humans and non-human primates have demonstrated that aging is typically characterized by a decline in cognition that can occur as early as the fifth decade of life. Age-related changes in working memory are particularly evident and mediated, in part, by the prefrontal cortex, an area known to evidence age-related changes in myelin that is attributed to inflammation. In recent years, several nutraceuticals, including curcumin, by virtue of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, have received considerable attention as potential treatments for age-related cognitive decline and inflammation. Accordingly, we assessed for the first time in a non-human primate model of normal aging the efficacy of dietary intervention using the natural phenol curcumin to ameliorate the effects of aging on spatial working and recognition memory. Results revealed that monkeys receiving daily administration of curcumin over 14–18 months demonstrated a greater improvement in performance on repeated administration of a task of spatial working memory compared to monkeys that received a control substance.


Curcumin Cognition Aging Rhesus monkey Memory 



The authors would like to thank Verdure Sciences for their generous donation of the Longvida Curcumin and control vehicle used in this study. We would also like to thank Reese Edwards and Karen Slater for their technical assistance with this study.


This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health—National Institute of Aging R01-AG043478 and R01-AG043640.


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy & NeurobiologyBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.Graduate Program in NeuroscienceBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  4. 4.Yerkes National Primate Research CenterEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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