Alzheimer's Breakthrough Could Avert 20% of Cases

Aspirin, ibuprofen may avert dementia if scientists are right
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2009 6:25 PM CDT
Jackie Lustig, 52, left, comforts her mother Jeannette Zeltzer, 81, who suffers from Alzheimer's.   (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)

(Newser) – British and French researchers say they have discovered three genes that may cause 20% of Alzheimer's cases, the Times of London reports. In the largest genetic probe of Alzheimer's so far, British experts discovered two dementia-causing genes; French scientists found a third in a separate study. The genes may account for brain inflammation and lead to treatments using anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, scientists say.

“If we were able to remove the detrimental effects of these genes through treatments, we could reduce the proportion of people developing Alzheimer’s by 20 per cent," one scientist says. "In the UK alone this would prevent just under 100,000 people developing the disease." Previously, experts had considered inflammation to be a side-effect of Alzheimer's, not a cause.