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Anti-Inflammatory Painkillers Actually Worsen Dementia

Saturday, October 03, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: painkillers, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Rather than reducing the risk of dementia as some researchers have suggested, regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs actually appears to worsen a person's risk of cognitive decline, according to a study conducted by researchers from the HMO Group Health Center for Health Studies and published in the journal Neurology.

Because chronic inflammation is known to play a role in the development of dementia, some scientists have suggested that regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen might reduce the risk of the condition. A handful of studies have backed up this hypothesis.

In the current study, researchers followed 2,736 Health Group members with dementia for 12 years. Patients were questioned about their NSAID use, and their pharmacy records were also analyzed for use of the drugs. At the beginning of the study, 351 people had a history of heavy NSAID use, defined as taking one NSAID per day for at least 16 months over the course of two years. By the end, 107 other participants had become heavy users.

The average participant age at the beginning of the study was 75. Over the followup period, 476 people developed dementia. Those with a history of heavy NSAID use were 66 percent more likely to develop the condition than those without such a history.

According to aging expert Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University, the study's results are not surprising, since a number of prior studies have found no connection between NSAID use and lowered dementia risk.

"Any benefits noted in prior studies were likely due to an epiphenomenon -- the people taking NSAIDS were younger, healthier and better educated, all of which biased the results," he said.

According to Jason Karlawish of the University of Pennsylvania, the current study does not mean that inflammation plays no role in the development of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

Sources for this story include: www.usatoday.com.

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