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Vitamins plus ibuprofen may ward off Alzheimer's

Written by: Staff

SAN DIEGO Apr 8 (Reuters) For patients at high risk of Alzheimer's disease, taking a combination of vitamins E and C plus ibuprofen significantly reduces their risk, results of a longitudinal study suggest.

Specifically, the combination seems to benefit people who carry a variant of the gene for apolipoprotein, APOE-4, which is known to put them at high risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.

''We found that for people at low risk, taking vitamin C and E alone is sufficient to further reduce their risk,'' Dr Majid Fotuhi told Reuters Health. ''But for those with (APOE-4), the combination exerts a synergistic benefit.'' Fotuhi, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his associates followed nearly 5000 elderly residents of Cache County in Utah for 8 years, taking into account their regular consumption of vitamins C and E, and ibuprofen.

They identified 127 subjects who regularly consumed all three agents, Fotuhi reported at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting here in San Diego. Results showed that this group exhibited significantly less decline in mental performance scores.

''With this approach, we've advanced a two-point attack on the cascade of events that leads to Alzheimer's disease pathology,'' Fotuhi said. ''On the one hand, we reduce inflammation (with vitamins E and C), and on the other hand, we reduce the amount of amyloid in the brain (with ibuprofen), the substrate that causes inflammation.'' As noted, APOE-4 carriers experienced the greatest benefit from the triple combination. According to the researchers, this subset of patients in their late 60s or 70s exhibited no decline in cognitive function during the 8-year follow-up when they took all three agents. Subjects who took just one of these agents had worsening memory over time.

''So if patients seem to be at high risk, such as having several family members with Alzheimer's disease or with early memory loss, they are likely to benefit the most from the triple-combination therapy,'' the researcher said.

As to what dose of ibuprofen to use, Fotuhi urges caution, since the drug can lead to stomach ulcers. He recommends a dose no higher than 100 milligrams per day.

He is so encouraged by these findings that he has patented a combination pill containing vitamins C and E, ibuprofen, and ''a small amount of omega-3 fatty acid.'' REUTERS PR RN0950

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