Daily ibuprofen may prevent Alzheimer's: study

Last Updated 27 March 2018, 10:28 IST

Taking over-the-counter medication ibuprofen daily may prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease, a study claims.

A team led by Canadian neuroscientist Patrick McGeer has successfully carried out studies suggesting that, if started early enough, a daily regimen of the non-prescription NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) ibuprofen can ward off Alzheimer's.

In most people, the rate of production of peptide amyloid beta protein 42 (Abeta42) is almost exactly the same regardless of sex or age, said McGeer, CEO of Vancouver-based Aurin Biotech.

However, if that rate of production is two to three times higher, those individuals are destined to develop Alzheimer's disease.

Contrary to the widely held belief that Abeta 42 is made only in the brain, the team demonstrated that the peptide is made in all organs of the body and is secreted in saliva from the submandibular gland.

As a result, with as little as one teaspoon of saliva, it is possible to predict whether an individual is destined to develop Alzheimer's disease.

This gives them an opportunity to begin taking early preventive measures such as consuming non-prescription non-steroidal drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, researchers said.

"Knowing that the prevalence of clinical Alzheimer's Disease commences at age 65, we recommend that people get tested ten years before, at age 55, when the onset of Alzheimer's would typically begin," McGeer said.

"If they exhibit elevated Abeta 42 levels then, that is the time to begin taking daily ibuprofen to ward off the disease," he said.

According to the 2016 report of Alzheimer's Disease International, the disease affects an estimated 47 million people worldwide, costing healthcare systems over USD 818 billion per year.

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, researchers said.

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

(Published 27 March 2018, 10:24 IST)

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