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According to a group of American researchers from the Brigham Hospital in Boston and Harvard University, Ibuprofen is able to effect the onset of Parkinson Disease. The study was lead by Dr. Xiang Gao, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a research scientist at Harvard School of Public Health, and it found a link between the use of ibuprofen and a reduction of the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s is a well-known illness that affects people around the world. It affects the five biggest countries in western Europe – France, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom and Italy – as well as the ten most populated nations of the world – China, India, Indonesia, United States, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Japan and Russia. In total, more than four million people suffer Parkinson’s.
Dr. Gao has so far proved through research that ibuprofen, a commonly used anti-inflammatory pill, helps to reduce the risk of the degenerative disorder. As he stated recently to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, this study is able to contribute substantially to a field that has been researched for two decades. Inflammation plays an important role in the breakdown of the central nervous system. What remains unknown is whether the inflammation causes the degeneration or if it is merely a consequence.
Scientist analyzed 98.892 cases of nurses who used ibuprofen. The case study had the nurses describe the frequency and consumption of analgesics such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen. They also informed scientist about their eating habits, body mass index, tobacco consumption, alcohol, caffeine, lactose and age – factors that could have an affect on the result.
After six years of study, Dr. Gao and his team had gathered information about 291 Parkinson’s cases. They found that those who consumed ibuprofen twice or more per week have a 40% less risk of suffering from Parkinson’s.
However, as published in the Neurology magazine, the same type of risk reduction was not found through the use of aspirin or acetaminophen. Since relation between illness and medicine was only found in the case of ibuprofan, the research team concluded that the two other analgesics could not be linked to Parkinson’s.
Researchers suggest that “inflammation mechanisms can contribute to the progressive loss of the black brain substance from the dopaminergic neurons”. And they add that there exist plenty of scientific literature, based on postmortem analyzes and experimental studies, that confirm this.
As a result, they insist that “ibuprofen can play a very important neuroprotective role.” Other evidence also suggest that this medicine can help sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease because of its believe effect towards preventing dementia.
In light of these findings, scientists are saying that the result needs to be verified through testings involving precocious Parkinson’s patients.
However, this study should be taken with caution. In the editorial that accompanied the Neurology magazine in which the study was published, James Bower and Beate Ritz suggest that prolonged consumption of ibuprofen has “a long list of secondary effects.” Additionally, one professor adds that “they should do more researches before recommending ibuprofen to prevent the illness”.