Noone has definitively proven the cause of Alzheimer's disease yet, however there are certain things that everyone agrees on. There is a genetic predisposition in some types. The biomarker is the deposition of beta amyloid protein in plaques found on autopsy, and more recently by PET scan, and this deposition is detectable a decade before symptoms begin. However attempts to cure the disease by eliminating beta amyloid protein have been less than successful.
What has been shown over the years is that there is a diffuse inflammatory process, perhaps a single common pathway with many causes, which leads to the deposition of beta-amyloid. The heartening finding on epidemiological and retrospective case control studies was the effect of Ibuprofen on disease initiation and progression. These results have not been born out by clinical trials, and many have suggested the failure of clinical trials is due to the need to initiate treatment before symptoms begin. The enthusiasm by researchers for this idea is understandable, even as geriatricians around the world shake their heads. What about the side effects of ibuprofen in the elderly which include gastrointestinal bleeding and renal insufficiency? How do we figure out who these people are that need treatment?
This study is a first step in solving the answer to the first question: How to figure out who needs treatment? These researchers report developing an ELISA test on saliva for beta amyloid protein which can detect Alzheimer's disease prior to clinical manifestations. Once that is solved the next question will be what delivery system (perhaps a nasal aerosol?) do we need to bypass the kidneys and GI tract.
McGeer PL, Guo JP, Lee M et al. Alzheimer's Disease Can Be Spared by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. J Alzheimer's Dis (2018) 62 (3): 1219-1222
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