Alzheimer has long been an incurable disease. However, a new research might just hold an answer to its cure and helping millions of people suffering from this mental illness around the world. Current reports suggest that more than 5 million people in the U.S are suffering from Alzheimer.
According to a new animal study, Dr. David Brough, from the University of Manchester, and colleagues saw positive effects of mefenamic acid related to reversing memory loss and brain inflammation due to Alzheimer. The new research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Mefenamic acid is used by a lot of women to provide them relief from menstrual pain. Mefenamic is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and the current research has observed it to be a promising treatment for Alzheimer.
The working of mefenamic acid includes an inflammatory pathway knows as NLRP3 inflammasome being targeted by the drug. The NLRP3 inflammasome is known to damage brain cells.
The current study focuses on the idea that the neurological disease ends up getting worse due to inflammation. It suggests that if inflammation is treated then the effects of the disease can be reduced. The researchers of the study wrote that “Treatment with mefenamic acid of an established disease model abated brain inflammation and memory deficits suggesting that inflammation is a druggable target for Alzheimer’s disease.”
In the study Dr. Brough and his colleagues genetically altered a total of 20 mice to exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer. The twenty mice were then separated into two groups, each consisting of 10 mice. One group was treated with mefenamic acid while the other group received a placebo. The treatments ran for a month. A mini-pump under their skin was used for the administration of the drug.
The results collected from the study showed that the mice treated through mefenamic acid showed a reversal of memory loss. While the group receiving the placebo showed no change. Furthermore, the group treated with mefenamic acid also showed that the memory of mice had returned to the levels that were comparable with mice without the mental disease.
While the results of the current research do have potential the researchers point out that additional studies are still needed. There could be potential side effects associated with such treatment which need to be addressed before mefenamic acid can be considered a viable cure for Alzheimer.
“However, much more work needs to be done until we can say with certainty that it will tackle the disease in humans as mouse models don’t always faithfully replicate the human disease,” said Dr. Brough.
The good news is that mefenamic acid is already widely used by the general public. Researchers already know about the toxicity and pharmacokinetics of the drug. If researchers are able to determine that the drug can indeed be used to treat Alzheimer then it will take a comparatively short period of time for it to be used as a proper medicine. According to Alzheimer’s Society Director of Research and Development, Doug Brown, using drugs that have already been tested allow researchers to cut down time to develop a new drug for dementia from scratch by at least 15 years. He went on to stress that while the current study is interesting, the fact it was done on animals requires it to be studied on people first.
Though no cure for Alzheimer is present as of yet, researchers stress that playing brain games and living a healthy lifestyle can lower the risk of suffering from this mental illness.