A few days ago, the dementia press was abuzz with a headline from The Sun suggesting that Alzheimer’s Disease can be controlled and, possibly eliminated, simply by taking one ibuprofen tablet a day. It’s well-established that Alzheimer’s Disease results from a process of inflammation in the brain. Equally, Ibuprofen is an NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, proven to reduce inflammation. If we take Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation in other places of our bodies, why not our brains?

Many experts disagree. They do not believe that the evidence supports the use of ibuprofen to reduce Alzheimer’s.

One study from 2004 conducted by Trackya University in Turkey concluded that Ibuprofen had positive effects on Alzheimer’s disease. The study noticed that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who regularly took Ibuprofen developed Alzheimer’s at a reduced rate. Investigators posited that since Ibuprofen passes through the blood-brain barrier, it could be an effective remedy for this dreaded condition.

The more recent study that lead to the article in The Sun was based on similar observations. Critics, however, noted that the study examined a very small population and was self-funded by researchers who were actually using the headline to bring attention to a saliva test they are developing.

Ibuprofen as a cure is a controversial topic. On one hand, if it’s that simple, why have lots of smart people spent billions of dollars in a fruitless search for a cure?  On the other hand, what’s the harm in taking one Ibuprofen daily? Perhaps you already do it. Taking Ibuprofen is not without it’s risks. It can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding and it may have other side effects. As with any treatment, it’s always good to check with your doctor.

As you think about ways to protect yourself against Alzheimer’s, keep in mind that there are other ways to reduce inflammation. Diet being one effective tool. Any diet that is low in refined carbohydrates, such as the Mediterranean Diet, is a good start.

Caring Corner

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About the Author:

Lorenzo Mejia and his wife, Mary Lynn Ryerson, are the owners of Acorn, a caregiver registry located in Chapel Hill.

They founded Acorn based on their experiences caring for his mom, who suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease. In 2013, he became a Qualified Dementia Care Specialist. In 2014, the Alzheimer’s Foundation named him the Dementia Care Professional of the Year in the United States.
Lorenzo is the founder of Dementia Friendly Orange County an effort to make local businesses more accommodating to people with dementia.

Lorenzo speaks often on dementia and the challenges associated with caring for loved ones. He has been interviewed by ABC News and National Public Radio. He is an advisor to Orange County’s OC-CARES Dementia Capable Community Project.