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September 24, 2002

Pain Relievers May Prevent Alzheimer's

Long-term use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could prevent Alzheimer’s disease if taken before symptoms of dementia occur, according to a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings are published in the September 2002 issue of the journal Neurology.

For the study, the researchers followed 3,000 adults over age 65 for three years and monitored their use of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs, which included ibuprofen, naproxen, and other drugs. The findings showed that people who took aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs for more than two years before the study began were 55 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's than those who did not. They also found that longer use of non-steroidal pain relievers among the study participants was associated with the greater protection from the disease.

Peter P. Zandi, PhD, professor of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Publich Health, told WebMD that the beneficial effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in preventing Alzheimer's take a long time to accumulate and are not apparent until years later.

“Reduced incidence of AD with NSAID but not H2 receptor antagonists” was written by Peter P. Zandi, PhD, James C. Anthony, PhD, Kathleen M. Hayden, MA, Kala Mehta, DSc, Lawrence Mayer, MD, and John C.S. Breitner, MD. Dr. Breitner is the former chair of the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is now with the University of Washington.

WebMD article
Neurology article

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Brigham @ 410-955-6878 or