A daily dose of ibuprofen can help prevent onset of Alzheimer’s, study finds

File photo of Advil Liqui-Gels on a store shelf.
File photo of Advil Liqui-Gels on a store shelf. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

A new Vancouver-based study says taking ibuprofen every day can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

If started early enough, Canadian neuroscientists say using the over-the-counter medication can diminish the chances of developing the disease that currently affects an estimated 564,000 Canadians. Since 2016, president and CEO of Vancouver-based Aurin Biotech, Dr. Patrick McGeer and his team have been following 500 people who have a predisposition to the disease as they regularly took ibuprofen as a preventative measure.

“The big news here is if it’s applied worldwide, Alzheimer’s disease would disappear,” McGeer told Global News.

The study began with a saliva test that measures the amount of the peptide amyloid beta protein 42 (Abeta42) secreted in saliva. As a result, if production rate of Abeta42 is found to be two to three times higher than normal, those individuals will develop the disease.

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Alzheimer’s develops when excess Abeta42 collects in the brain, causing neuroinflammation and destroying neurons, which affects a person’s memory.

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Since the peptide affects the inflammation of brain neurons, it is common belief that Abeta42 is not found anywhere else in the body. But the study found it is in fact present in all organs, concluding that the use of drugs like ibuprofen, which prevents and reduces inflammation, can be used to fight the disease.

“Our discovery is a game changer,” McGeer said in a release. “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.”

Clinical Alzheimer’s disease begins to be most prevalent at the age of 65, with the onset typically beginning 10 years before. McGeer recommends getting tested at 55 to begin taking daily ibuprofen as a way to ward off the disease if individuals exhibit elevated Abeta42 levels.

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WATCH: Dr. Sultan Darvesh has been collecting brains for more than two decades and now that research could lead to a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease:

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McGeer told Global News that they are working toward making saliva tests easily available around the world, so people can take combating the disease into their own hands.

“I hope it would be picked up and applied worldwide,” McGeer said. “They can find out for themselves [if they will develop Alzheimer’s] and treat themselves. Nobody is more motivated than the person themselves.”
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The number of Canadians suffering from the chronic neurodegenerative disease is expected to rise to 937,000 by 2031, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Currently, the society says the combination of health-care system and out-of-pocket costs of dementia is estimated at $10.4 billion. By 2031, this figure is expected to increase by 60 per cent, to $16.6 billion.

The team’s main focus moving forward is to define how many pills a day are required for optimal results. They are currently recommending one to two pills, but believe the accurate number may be less. They expect to release a conclusive number within the year, but McGeer says “$30 a year can save your life.”

Go to a doctor for more information before beginning any regimen.

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