As researchers are discovering more and more about the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease, they are finding new ways to prevent and treat it. A team of neurological scientists from Rush University Medical Center have found that aspirin can be used to treat Alzheimer’s. Here’s what you need to know about this latest discovery.
Past Research Shows Aspirin Affects Alzheimer’s
Previous studies showed there is a correlation between regularly taking aspirin and not developing Alzheimer’s disease. The previous research was promising, but scientists didn’t know if aspirin could directly decrease Alzheimer’s risks. Some theorized the link was only occurring because aspirin thins blood, so it reduces the risk of strokes that could trigger Alzheimer’s disease through brain damage.
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Researchers Test Their Theory with Mice
To further test the connection between aspirin and Alzheimer’s disease, the Rush University researchers conducted a study on mice. They took mice that were genetically modified to develop Alzheimer’s disease and gave them low doses of aspirin regularly. The researchers noticed that mice who took the aspirin were less likely to exhibit Alzheimer’s-like behaviors.
The Reason Aspirin May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk
Aspirin seems to reduce Alzheimer’s risks and symptoms due to its interaction with amyloid beta proteins, which clump together in the brain, tangle up nerves, and make it difficult for the brain to send and receive signals. In healthy people, another protein called TFEB helps the brain clear away amyloid beta before it can clump into plaques, but people with Alzheimer’s do not have enough TFEB to sweep away amyloid beta proteins. It turns out aspirin medications boost TFEB levels and increase the speed at which the brain clears out amyloid plaques. Consuming aspirin increases TFEB production and lowers the rate of plaque formation.
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What You Can Do to Reduce Your Loved One’s Alzheimer’s Risk and Severity
Many seniors are already taking a few milligrams of aspirin each day to thin the blood and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Older adults who want to reduce their likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease should also consider taking aspirin. Keep in mind your loved one needs to talk to the doctor before starting any sort of medication regimen. Regular aspirin doses can increase the risk of bleeding and developing several health issues, so it’s best to consult a healthcare expert.
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