Brain Pills - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/19/03 - Healthwatch

Brain Pills

You may have used over-the-counter pills like ibuprofen for pain in the past. Now neuroscientists have found that some of these common painkillers may be more useful than you think. Some researchers believe they could also protect you against alzheimer's disease.

Scientists think that plaques, or lumps of protein that form in the brain, may be choking nerve cells and wiping out the Alzheimer's patients' memory. As the disease progresses, other brain functions are also disrupted, causing people to have personality changes, depression, and agitation.  Eventually they can't even feed themselves, and need total care. Which is devastating to their families.

Until now, there was no way to dissolve these plaques, but neuroscientists at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that common pain killers like ibuprofen and naproxen might do the trick. First, they added a chemical to make the plaques stand out. When they added the painkiller, it attached to the plaques, so researchers could no longer see them. Further tests showed the pain killer was also dissolving the plaques.

Researchers think these pain killers could help in the early stages of Alzheimer's.  They plan to test them in patients, and hope to eventually help others who may be at risk for Alzheimer's.

Researchers warn that people should not start taking pain killers to prevent Alzheimer's. They say more studies need to be done to test for effectiveness.

For more information on the study, log onto www.sciencentral.com.

 

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