The arthritis medication salsalate may be effective in helping fight off Alzheimer's disease, according to a recent study published in the science journal Nature Medicine.
Salsalate is a prescription medication currently used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, but the study conducted at Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco found the drug could prevent the accumulation of protein tau, reported Medical News Today
Protein tau is known to cause toxicity and adds to cognitive degeneration, noted Medical News Today. The prevention of protein tau could be beneficial to those suffering from Alzheimer's as well as frontal-temporal dementia, said the study in Nature Medicine
Li Gan, one of the authors of the study, said the test also marked the first time researchers reversed the toxic aspects of the protein tau with a drug, according to The Oregonian
"Remarkably, the profound protective effects of salsalate were achieved even though it was administered after disease onset, indicating that it may be an effective treatment option," said Gan.
Dr. Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society
in the United Kingdom, said the study is a positive development and could reduce one of the toxic proteins connected with Alzheimer's disease.
"None of the current dementia treatments target this specific protein, tau, which creates tangles in the brain that gradually destroy healthy nerve cells," said Brown. "While scientists are still not absolutely sure what causes Alzheimer's or frontal-temporal dementia, the hope is that this type of treatment could be one way of slowing down the progression of the disease."
"As this drug is already prescribed to people with arthritis we know a lot about how it works and its side effects – what we need now is confirmation of whether it works for people with dementia," he said.
Brown said salsalate is currently being used in a clinical trial for another brain disease and could lead to way to enlisting other prescription drugs in the fight against Alzheimer's and dementia.
"Repurposing existing treatments for other conditions offers real hope of delivering a new dementia treatment within five to 10 years," said Brown.
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