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31.8.09

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University of Tasmania School of Human Life Sciences research fellow Kiran Ahuja said it was possible that one day chillies would replace aspirin, or be combined with aspirin as a medication for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.


"Aspirin... has a nasty side effect, which causes stomach bleeding in patients," said Ahuja.
The university research team is investigating the biological activity of two of its active ingredients - capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin.

Their work has shown that the capsaicinoid chemicals have the potential to lower blood glucose and insulin levels, reduce the formation of fatty deposits on artery walls and prevent blood clots - minus some of the nasty side-effects of traditional medications.

This work on blood coagulation follows Ahuja's earlier investigations that showed a potential role of chilli in prevention of diabetes and formation of fatty deposits on artery walls.

The research could lead to chillies replacing or being used along with current medications for treating and preventing cardiovascular disease, according to a university release.

Pro vice-chancellor for research Johanna Laybourn-Parry, a professor, said despite the provision of multiple medical treatments, cardiovascular disease remains one of the biggest causes of death.

"Cardiovascular disease continues to generate a considerable burden on population in terms of illness and disability and the development of improved methods for prevention and treatment are essential," Laybourn-Parry added.
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