(NaturalNews) UK researchers have linked drugs commonly prescribed to half the people over 65 to increased incidence of death and mental decline. The researchers' findings, which are being published this month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, suggest that the side-effects of the drugs have an impact on the brain, increasing the risk of decline and death.
The new study examined 13,000 patients aged 65 or older and focused on drugs which have 'anticholinergic activity' - a known potential side effect of many prescription and over the counter drugs which affects the brain by blocking a key neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Each drug taken by the participants was given a ranking based on the strength of its anticholinergic activity, or AntiCholinergic Burden (ACB) -- 0 for no effect, 1 for mild effect, 2 for moderate effect and 3 for severe effect. Thus, a patient taking one severe drug and two mild ones would have an overall score of five.
Researchers found that the risk was cumulative, based on the number of drugs taken and the strength of each drug's effect. The results showed that one in five people taking drugs with a total score of four or more had died by the end of the two-year study, compared with only 7% percent of those taking no anticholinergic drugs. The study also found that for every additional point scored, the odds of dying increased by 26%.
The large cohort study was led by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and is part of the Medical Research Council's Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies (CFAS) project to find ways of reducing risk factors for dementia, which affects 820,000 people in the UK. Joining the UEA researchers were colleagues at the University of Cambridge, Indiana University and National Health Service clinicians.
Dr Susanne Sorensen, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "It is very important that we have a clear picture of the side effects of drugs commonly taken by older people with cognitive impairment and other conditions. This robust study provides valuable findings, and must be taken seriously."
Dr Sorensen and other experts cautioned patients to not stop taking their medications without consulting their doctors. A better idea might be to consult naturopathic professionals or integrative medicine doctors. Often, patients can be weaned off mainstream medicines with healthy dietary and lifestyle changes and by replacing unnatural drugs with natural items.
Over 95% of all prescribed and over the counter medications have side effects. Once you combine two or more of them you essentially become a living (or dying) experiment, since virtually no studies exist for the safety of multiple drug combinations. The more drugs you take, the more likely it will be to get other conditions requiring still more drugs in a never ending cycle. That may be a great model for profits for the pharmaceutical industry, but it is a horrible one for healing..
As noted, alternative health figure Jon Barron observed, by the time a male reaches sixty-five years of age in the US, he takes an average of 15 prescribed and over the counter drugs every day. In most instances his problems all began with one or two conditions which could have been addressed naturally.
Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers. Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".