NSAIDs: Helpful or Hurtful?

Contributed by: Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at the Duke University Medical Center, and author of The Alzheimer's Action Plan.

The results of another study on the association between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and the risk for dementia were in the headlines this week.

This study, which tracked nearly 3,000 subjects for a twelve year period, did not show any reduction in the prevalence of dementia among NSAID users. To the contrary, the results suggested a possible increase in cognitive decline among these subjects.

NSAIDs, known in common forms as naproxen and ibuprofen, have been associated with lower risk of dementia according to many earlier news headlines but not necessarily by the bulk of earlier research results. While several individual studies have reached conclusions in one direction or another, the full body of research in this field is still quite mixed.

At this point, there is still a significant gap in our understanding of how inflammation may or may not be related to dementia. As I noted in the USA Today, these latest results are not at all surprising to me and highlight our need for deeper knowledge in this area.

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