A new study has claimed that the painkiller Ibuprofen could be the key to helping to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
The population study was lead by Dr Patrick McGeer, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists.
He and his team followed 500 people since 2016, who were said to have a ‘predisposition’ to Alzheimer’s. Dr McGeer tested them using a saliva test he developed, which measures the level amyloid beta protein. The protein is said to be an indicator of the disease.
Dr Patrick McGeer then suggested that in over 55s, taking a daily dose of Ibuprofen could help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This is because it is an anti-inflammatory, and inflammation in the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s.
He went on to claim that the discovery is a ‘game changer’, and could make the disease ‘disappear’.
He said, “Our discovery is a game changer. We now have a simple test that can indicate if a person is fated to develop Alzheimer’s disease long before it begins to develop.
“Individuals can prevent that from happening through a simple solution that requires no prescription or visit to a doctor. The big news here is if it is applied worldwide, Alzheimer’s disease would disappear.””
The scientists are currently working out how big a dose of the anti-inflammatory people would have to take to be effective. But it is thought that the number is between 1-2 pills a day.
But how accurate is the study, really?
The Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading research charity on the disease, have said that actual clinical trials testing the effectiveness of ibuprofen preventing Alzheimer’s have been ‘disappointing’.
Dr Doug Brown, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, also warned that long-term use of anti-inflammaatories like Ibuprofen could also raise your risk of stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding.
Dr Doug also suggested consulting with your doctor about ibuprofen, as it could interfere with other medications you may be taking.
He 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.
“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.
“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.”
Currently of course, there is no cure or prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, nor any other form of dementia. However, there are some medications that can temporarily improve symptoms or help to slow the disease’s progression.
Doctors also recommend improving your cardiovascular health in order to try and delay the disease, by eating a healthy diet, exercising regular, stopping smoking and not drinking large amounts of alcohol.