Saturday 5 March 2011
Research recently published in the Neurology Journal has found that people who take ibuprofen on a regular basis have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
In studies of more than 135,000 men and women regular users of ibuprofen were 40% less likely to develop Parkinson’s.
Lead researcher Professor Alberto Ascherio, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said: "There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, so the possibility that ibuprofen, an existing and relatively non-toxic drug, could help protect against the disease is captivating."
In his study, funded by the Michael J Fox Foundation, men and women who used ibuprofen two or more times a week reduced their risk of Parkinson’s disease by more than a third compared with those who regularly used aspirin, acetaminophen, or other NSAIDs.
Dr Kieran Breen, director of Research and Development at Parkinson’s UK, said it was difficult to know exactly what effect ibuprofen might be having on the death of nerve cells in the brain, and how it might affect whether somebody will get Parkinson’s. But based on the findings of this latest study, he said there would seem to be an interesting link.
He said: "We know that inflammatory changes in the brain may be involved in the death of nerve cells which cause Parkinson’s, particularly in the early stages of the condition.
"We are currently funding research into this area ourselves at the University of Oxford."
Like all NSAIDs, ibuprofen can cause worrying side effects, like an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. A recent study also linked ibuprofen taken daily for some years to a small increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
The findings relate to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen prescribed long-term to treat painful conditions such as arthritis.
For this reason experts say more work is needed to determine whether the benefits of taking the drug more often would outweigh any risks.
If it did, it could offer a new way of managing this incurable neurological condition.
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