Extracts from turmeric spice, known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, may help ward off heart attacks in people who have had recent bypass surgery, according to a study from Thailand.During bypass surgery the heart muscle can be damaged by prolonged lack of blood flow, increasing the patient s risk of heart attack. But the new findings, published in the peer reviewed American Journal of Cardiology, suggest that curcumins - the yellow pigment in turmeric - may ease those risks when added to traditional drug treatment.The conclusions are based on a relatively small group of subjects and needs to be confirmed in larger studies, said researchers led by Wanwarang Wongcharoen from Chiang Mai University. Turmeric extracts have long been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.Research has suggested inflammation plays an important role in the development of a range of diseases, including heart disease, and curcumins could have an effect on those pathways, said Bharat Aggarwal, who studies the use of curcumins in cancer therapy at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.