Innovative Researcher Ben Zimmerman Awarded Grant to Propel Aging-Related Research

Ben Zimmerman, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher investigator at the Helfgott Research Institute at the National University of Natural Medicine, 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.

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.

Zimmerman is an advocate for proactive healthcare and believes in addressing aging-related diseases at their core. He states, “I’m passionate about exploring potential interventions and mechanisms to postpone or prevent the onset of age-related cognitive decline and dementia. Preventing and delaying dementia is far more achievable than treating it once significant neurodegeneration has occurred.”

Zimmerman’s research endeavors align with a desperately needed paradigm shift in healthcare, emphasizing early prevention over late-stage interventions. With more researchers like Dr. Zimmerman dedicated to addressing the initial signs of aging-related diseases, natural medicine interventions will hopefully extend health spans and elevate the overall quality of life for aging individuals.

Established in 1956, National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) is the longest active, accredited naturopathic medical university in North America and a leader in natural medicine education and evidence-based research. Learn more at

Founded in 2003, NUNM’s Helfgott Research Institute is a professionally independent, non-profit research institute conducting rigorous, high quality research on the art and science of healing.

SOURCE National University of Natural Medicine


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