As previously reported on VOANews and posted on Reddit, researchers at the University of Manchester in Britain have discovered a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s in one of the most unlikely places-mefenamic acid. Mefenamic acid is a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) used to relieve menstrual cramps. Studies have shown that mice treated with mefenamic acid no longer possess the memory issues that are associated with Alzheimer’s.
In this study, performed by David Brough and his team, twenty mice were bred to exhibit the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. One of the main symptoms these mice developed was memory loss. Once the mice began developing the Alzheimer’s symptoms, they were treated with either mefenamic acid or a placebo. This was done by implanting small pumps containing the drug under the skin of the mice. Each mouse was treated for one month with either the mefenamic acid or the placebo.
After the month of treatment, the researchers attempted to train the mice to complete a maze. The goal was to train them to get around all the obstacles in the maze without issue. The mice that had been given the placebo were virtually untrainable; they showed no sign of an improved memory. However, the mice that were treated with mefenamic acid showed no signs of memory issues; they were able to complete the maze without problem.
The researchers believe the reason for these promising results is that mefenamic acid helps to alleviate inflammation in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s, which aids in the treatment of memory loss. Thus far, mefenamic acid is the only NSAID shown to relieve inflammation in the brain. It is believed that this is due to mefenamic acid targeting the inflammatory pathway NLRP3, which other NSAIDs do not seem to target. Whether mefenamic acid is able to transfer over to the human model of Alzherimer’s is still unknown. More studies will be underway, but one day, it might help alleviate the symptoms of those suffering from the disease.