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US Scientist Says Ibuprofen Could Be Used To Help Eliminate Alzheimer's

US Scientist Says Ibuprofen Could Be Used To Help Eliminate Alzheimer's

A team of scientists in the US claim to have found evidence that ibuprofen use could help eliminate Alzheimer's.

Led by Dr Patrick McGeer, the team have produced research arguing that a moderate use of ibuprofen from middle age onwards could help at-risk patients avoid dementia.

McGeer is regarded as a leading authority on the prevention and causes of Alzheimer's, though medical authorities in the UK and elsewhere are likely to be wary of recommending an increased use of ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories.

As reported in the Daily Mail, McGeer said: "Unfortunately, most clinical trials to date have focused on patients whose cognitive deficits are already mild to severe, and when the therapeutic opportunities in this late stage of the disease are minimal.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"Consequently, every therapeutic trial has failed to arrest the disease's progression."

The team of researchers have followed 500 at-risk people from 2016 onwards, using a saliva test to measure the concentration of a protein called Abeta42.

Research suggests that Abeta42 plays a key role in the pathology of Alzheimer's and its development.

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Dr McGreer added that 'elevated' levels of the protein could be a sign that a patient ought to start taking ibuprofen in a bid to prevent the disease from fully developing.

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His findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer's disease.

However, other organisations, including the Alzheimer's Society in the UK, have urged caution.

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Dr Doug Brown, Chief Policy and Research Officer at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "With no way to slow down or cure dementia, finding a way to prevent the condition is one of the holy grails of dementia research.

"Population studies, which gather large amounts of information from medical records from thousands of people, have thrown up an idea that taking ibuprofen and other over-the-counter anti-inflammatories might be linked to a lower risk of dementia.

Dr Doug Brown. Credit: Alzheimer's Society
Dr Doug Brown. Credit: Alzheimer's Society

"But results of clinical trials with these drugs have been disappointing so far. The researchers' suggestion in this paper that taking a daily anti-inflammatory drug as soon as a positive result for dementia risk is shown by a saliva test is premature, based on the evidence at the moment.

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"Long-term use of anti-inflammatories runs an increased risk of stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding, and can have harmful interactions with other medications like Warfarin. We always recommend talking to your doctor before changing your medication."

The possible positive correlation between ibuprofen use and reduced risk of dementia has been questioned by other academics, and further research will doubtless be needed before any definitive medical advice can be issued on its use in connection to the disease.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, World News, Research, Dementia, Health

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Ronan O'Shea

Ronan J O'Shea is a freelance journalist from London who has written for titles including LADbible, Headspace, The Independent, National Geographic Traveller and New York Post. Contact him at [email protected]