Parkinson’s Disease Risk Reduced By Ibuprofen

by Rathi Manohar on Mar 4 2011 9:42 AM

 Parkinson’s Disease Risk Reduced By Ibuprofen
The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease could come down drastically by regularly taking ibuprofen, state researchers led by Alberto Ascherio at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
98, 892 female nurses and 37,305 male health professionals were a part of the study that involved taking ibuprofen regularly, two or more doses per week. Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  [NSAIDS] were used to study the comparative benefits. 

The study revealed that the anti-inflammatory drug would reduce the risk of developing the disease by 38 per cent, whereas other common painkillers such as aspirin, naproxen and diclofenac did not have the same effect.

A wider analysis that considered factors like age, smoking, diet and caffeine consumption indicated a 27 per cent reduction in risk.

Although, according to this study ibuprofen could be a potential neuroprotective agent against Parkinson’s disease, the exact mechanism is not known.  It does not mean, however, that people should start taking ibuprofen to protect against Parkinson's, because there could be long-term health risks from taking the drug that includes a high risk of intestinal bleeding. Another research study published in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed the discovery of a protein pathway that regulates the survival of dopamine-producing nerve cells thought to be key in Parkinson's disease.

The authors concluded: “The association between use of ibuprofen and lower PD risks, not shared by other NSAIDs or acetaminophen, suggests ibuprofen should be further investigated as a potential neuroprotective agent against PD.”

Parkinson's disease is caused by the death of brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine.  It is a part of motor system disorders that shows itself through tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As the disease advances, these symptoms begin to affect the daily life of the sufferers. They may go into depression and go through other emotional changes besides have difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.

There are around 120,000 people with Parkinson's in the UK alone, and one in 20 is under the age of 40.   Famous people who have the disorder include the former world boxing champion Muhammad Ali and the actor Michael J Fox.