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Reversible memory loss through anti-inflammatory drug?
Alzheimer's is a common disease that affects the lives of many people around the world. For this reason, doctors have long been looking for ways to successfully treat this disease. Researchers now found in an investigation that a drug often used to inhibit inflammation could also be used to treat Alzheimer's. The drug helped reverse memory loss and brain inflammation in laboratory animals.
Scientists at Manchester University found in an investigation that a widespread medication for period pain could also be used to treat Alzheimer's. The results of the trials on mice were extremely promising, the British physicians write in the journal "Nature Communications".
Mefenamic acid reverses memory loss in mice
Alzheimer's disease (Alzheimer's disease) is a neurodegenerative disease that mostly affects people over the age of 65. Alzheimer's disease is responsible for around 60 percent of dementia worldwide. An existing medication could help those affected to deal better with their condition. When so-called mefenamic acid was given to sick mice, their memory loss was completely reversed, the doctors say. This substance is usually used as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain during the period. However, more research is needed to analyze the effects on humans, explains the author Dr. David Brough from Manchester University.
Drug fights inflammation in the brain
In the UK alone, there are around 500,000 people with advanced Alzheimer's disease, the scientists say. Sick people often have problems remembering past events and are usually severely handicapped in their decision-making. This condition gets worse, the more time passes. So far, there has been no drug that specifically targets inflammation in the brain of people with Alzheimer's, says Dr. Brough. The drug with mefenamic acid shows a good effectiveness and we are thrilled with the positive results in mice, the doctor adds. However, more research is needed to determine the exact effect on human Alzheimer's disease. The results of experiments with mice cannot always be transferred to human diseases, the author explains.
New drug development can take 15 years or more
The drug used in the trial is already available and the effects on the human body are known, the scientists explain. This could help reduce the time it takes for the drug to be used in human patients with Alzheimer's. Completely redesigning a drug usually takes a very long time and can take 15 years or more, explains Dr. Brough.
Mice were treated with mefenamic acid for one month
In the study, ten mice were treated with mefenamic acid, another ten mice were given only one placebo. All mice were treated at the same time. The drugs were administered over a period of one month via an implanted mini pump under the skin, the researchers say.
Drug has great potential, but further testing is urgently needed
The promising laboratory results identify a class of existing drugs that have the potential to treat Alzheimer's disease by blocking a certain part of the immune response, the study authors explain. But these drugs are also not without side effects and for this reason, studies in humans are urgently needed, say the doctors. (as)