To stop Alzheimer's disease, a leading theory proposes reducing in-brain buildup of a protein fragment known as beta-amyloid. Scientists struggling to achieve this goal are, for example, testing a vaccine that prompts the immune system to clear this amyloid from the brain.
The solution may be even simpler. A study in mice suggests that ibuprofen, the common nonprescription drug, may lessen abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid.
While this finding supports previous data indicating that ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) slow or prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease, researchers say it also opens up a new way to think about how ibuprofen protects the brain.
"We've shown that a drug that's available, that's been in use for 30 to 40 years, and [for which] we know the side-effect profiles...can reduce both the inflammatory response to amyloid and the amyloid" itself, says study leader Gregory M. Cole of the University of California in