Arthritis Drug May Fight Alzheimer's
A medication long used to treat rheumatoid arthritis may turn out to be helpful in fighting Alzheimer's disease.
Research at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, published in Nature Medicine, concluded that the drug salsalate can be effective in preventing the accumulation of the protein tau – known to contribute to the cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer's and dementia.
While scientists have known the effect of tau on the brain, they haven't been able to determine how it works to slow cognition. But now, there seems to be progress. Scientists found tau accumulation occurs early in Alzheimer’s development, leading to progressive decline.
Working with mice, the researchers used salsalate and found they were able to reverse tau-related degeneration, including impairments similarly seen in Alzheimer’s. The drug also seemed to prevent the loss of brain cells, while protecting against atrophy of the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory formation.
Given that salsalate has been a prescription drug used for many years, the researchers are hopeful it can have "immediate clinical implications" in treating cognitive decline.