One of the best-known painkillers could wipe out dementia, say scientists who have branded the findings a “game-changer”. They say ibuprofen has the potential to wipe out debilitating Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report in The Sun.
The over-the-counter drug reduces inflammation in the brain, caused by a build-up of rogue proteins that lead to memory loss and confusion. If started early enough, a daily pill could reduce the chance of dementia in those most at risk.
Scientists said a simple saliva test could be used to find those people who could benefit. They would then be put on a regular low dose of the painkiller for the rest of their lives
But, medics have warned long-term use of ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding.
Lead researcher Dr Patrick McGeer, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, says Alzheimer’s “would 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. This is a true breakthrough since it points in a direction where Alzheimer’s can eventually be eliminated.”
Ibuprofen, like aspirin, is anon-prescription anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and fever.
It was developed by Boots in the 1960s and became available over the counter around the world in the 1980s. The World Health Organisation (WHO) includes the drug on its list of “essential medications” needed in every basic health system.
Dr McGeer, president of Aurin Biotech, Vancouver, Canada, and his team have followed 500 people with a predisposition to Alzheimer’s since 2016.
They have been regularly taking ibuprofen as a preventative measure. They were recruited through the saliva test, developed by Dr McGeer, that diagnoses Alzheimer’s or predicts its future onset.
The test measures the level of amyloid beta protein – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Those with high levels of the protein are most likely to be struck by the most common form of dementia.
Dr McGeer said people should be tested at 55 – ten years before Alzheimer’s typically takes hold – and those deemed at high risk should start a daily dose of ibuprofen right away.
His team are working to make the saliva tests easily available across the world – to help people prevent the disease themselves.
He said, “I hope it would be picked up and applied worldwide. They can find out for themselves if they will develop Alzheimer’s, and treat themselves.
Dr McGeer and colleagues are now working out how many pills a day would be required for the best results. They are currently recommending one to two pills, but believe the accurate number may be less.