Pain killers may dissolve Alzheimer's disease plaques

In a breakthrough study, scientists have found that common painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may actually dissolve the brain lesions — or amyloid plaques — that are one of the definitive hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are reported in the March 31 issue of Neuroscience. Principal investigator Jorge R. Barrio, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has used FDDNP, a new chemical marker developed in his laboratory at UCLA, to visually zero in on the brain lesions present in Alzheimer’s disease. He discovered that common over-the-counter pain medications — known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — bind to amyloid plaques, and may help dissolve existing plaques and prevent the formation of new ones.