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Painkillers May Worsen Dementia.

-Dr. Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC

Because chronic inflammation plays a role in the development of dementia, many scientists have thought that regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen should help reduce dementia. However, a number of new studies have directly contradicted this hypothesis.

The most recent study NSAIDs study conducted by the HMO Group Health Center followed 2,736 dementia patients for 12 years. The patient’s NSAIDs use was analyzed as well as their pharmacy records.  Prior to the study, 351 patients had recorded heavy NSAIDs use defined as taking one NSAID a day for 16 months. By the end, 107 other patients had become heavy NSAID users.

The average participant of the study was 75 years old and by the end of the study 476 patients had developed some sort of dementia. Those who had a history of using NSAIDs heavily were 66 percent more likely to develop dementia.

Researchers now believe that prior studies concerning NSAIDs and dementia gave different results because the experimental populations were much younger and healthier overall. These different experimental groups led to biased results.

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