Memory loss occurs when a person loses their ability to recall events that they would normally remember. This loss often leads to devastating consequences. People suffering from memory loss may also lose their ability to learn new things. Unfortunately, this type of memory disorder is quite common in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This illness causes the victims to forget events that happened long ago in addition to those that just happened recently.
Today, 1 to 5% of the human population has this disease. Institutions, governments, and philanthropists are working together to find effective treatment and preventive measures. For example, the National Institutes of Health spends about $480 million on researching Alzheimer’s disease annually.
Surprisingly, a new study has shown that a painkiller could be a solution to memory loss exhibited by Alzheimer’s patients.
The research team that conducted this study came from the University of Manchester in the UK. The researchers took 20 genetically modified mice for the research. The modification was necessary so that the mice resemble the symptoms and characteristics exhibited in Alzheimer’s patients. Half of the mice got mefenamic acid treatment for a month while the other half did not. The mice that got treatment displayed a reversal in their memory loss. In fact, it was as if the mice did not have Alzheimer’s at all. The second group continued to exhibit symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. The project leader for this study was Dr. Brough David, a senior lecturer at Manchester University.
The study focused on mefenamic acid, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAID drugs are habitually useful in treating mild or moderate pain. This specific painkiller operates under the brand name Ponstel. Women have an additional use for it. More specifically, mefenamic acid helps them to ease their menstrual pain and to prevent migraines that result from menstruation.
This study determined that a pro-inflammatory pathway located in the brain worsens Alzheimer’s disease. Then it revealed that this painkiller i.e. mefenamic acid works on the pathway and as such, it reverses memory loss.
Researchers around the world have hailed these findings as promising. However, the same researchers have noted that the findings in this study are preliminary and inconclusive. Therefore, additional studies are necessary before the relevant medical authorities officially endorse mefenamic acid as a drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease.