Neuroscientists are suggesting…    if started early enough, a daily regimen of ibuprofen can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

By Diane Berardi

Gerontologist and Radio Talk show host of Parents Are Hard To Raise

Available on demand on iHeart Radio

A Vancouver-based research team led by Canada’s most cited neuroscientist, Dr. Patrick McGeer, has successfully carried out studies suggesting that, if started early enough, a daily regimen of ibuprofen can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

This means that by taking an over-the-counter medication, people can ward off a disease that affects an estimated 47 million people worldwide, costs healthcare systems worldwide more than $818 billion per year and is the fifth leading cause of death in those aged 65 or older.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that there are more than 5 million cases in the United States alone, with a new case being identified every 66 seconds. The annual cost to the country in 2017 is estimated have been $259 billion, with that figure predicted to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2050.

Dr. McGeer, and his wife, Dr. Edith McGeer, are among the most cited neuroscientists in the world and this recent study was just recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In 2016, Dr. McGeer and his team announced that they had developed a simple saliva test that can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, as well as predict its future onset. The test measures a substance called Amyloid Beta Protein 42 (Aß42) secreted in saliva.

In most people, the rate of Aßeta 42 production is almost exactly the same regardless of sex or age. However, if that rate of production is two to three times higher, those individuals are destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

That is because high deposits of Aßeta42 cause a condition known as neuroinflammation, which is responsible for destroying the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory which, as we’ve known, for approximately 20 years can have a beneficial effect on Alzheimer’s Disease.   What we haven’t known however is how far in advance we need to start taking it for it to have any appreciable effect. Now thanks to this most recent study, we now know it’s about 10 years before the disease starts.

But how can we predict who will get the disease and when it will start? That’s where Dr. McGeer’s saliva test comes in.

With as little as one teaspoon of saliva, it is now possible to predict whether an individual is destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease. This gives them an opportunity to begin taking early preventive measures such as consuming non-prescription non-steroidal drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. This discovery is a game-changer.

Dr. McGeer says, “Knowing that the prevalence of clinical Alzheimer’s Disease commences at age 65, we recommend that people get tested ten years before, at age 55, when the onset of Alzheimer’s would typically begin. If they exhibit elevated Aßeta 42 levels then, that is the time to begin taking daily ibuprofen to ward off the disease.

Of course, there are risks associated with daily ibuprofen use, most notably the increased risk of heart attack, stroke and gastrointestinal bleeding. So your doctor and you have to determine the risks and benefits.   But it’s good to know that we can do something.