Canadian neuroscientists have developed a salivary test that can determine early a person’s likelihood of having Alzheimer’s disease. This early detection would allow doctors to treat these patients with ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug that could prevent the onset of the disease when it is caught early.
47 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s disease worldwide. It is the fifth leading cause of death among people over 65 years old. Research to stop the evolution of the disease is progressing but results are hard coming.
Canadian researchers, led by renowned neuroscientist Patrick McGeer, have shown that Ibuprofen is effective as a preventative therapy for Alzheimer’s disease provided it is taken early enough. The scientists have developed a salivary test that can determine very early the probability of a person to have Alzheimer’s. If the result is positive, daily ibuprofen may prevent the onset of the disease.
In 2016, Professor McGeer’s team announced that they have developed this salivary test. It measures the concentration of beta-amyloid protein 42 (Abeta 42). In general, individuals, whether male or female, and regardless of age, have a similar production rate of Abeta 42. But if a person produces beta-amyloid proteins at a rate two or three times higher, he or she has a high probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
In fact, this protein is made everywhere in the body, but when it is deposited mainly in the brain, which is the case when it is produced in large quantities, it causes a degradation of the neurons, responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.
This detection by salivary test thus makes it possible to determine in an early manner the appearance or not of the disease in the future. Thus, patients can take as a preventive treatment non-steroidal drugs daily, such as ibuprofen. These drugs help prevent inflammation of the neurons in the long run.
“As we know that Alzheimer’s disease starts on average at the age of 65, we recommend that people do the test ten years before, around 55 years. If their Abeta 42 level is high, now is the time to start taking ibuprofen daily to prevent the onset of the disease,” says Professor McGeer.
In 2016, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester also showed the efficacy of ibuprofen in reversing memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease. The test, successful, had been conducted on mice.