Research Team Carries on Dementia Prevention Work

Doctors have discovered that drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could halve the risk of patients developing dementia.

A team led by Professor Chris Edwards, of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, and colleagues at the University of Oxford, analysed the records of more than 5,800 people living with the condition across the UK.

They compared 3,876 patients who took disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), particularly methotrexate, with 1,938 patients who did not.

The findings, published in the journal Alzheimer’s And Dementia: Translational Research And Clinical Interventions, found those on the anti-inflammatory medication had approximately half the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Prof Edwards and Clive Holmes, a professor of biological psychiatry at the University of Southampton, along with a team at Queen’s University Belfast led by Dr Bernadette McGuinness, have been awarded £400,000 by the Alzheimer’s Society to continue their research.

This study shows a positive link between patients taking drugs to treat arthritis and reducing their risk of developing dementia – potentially by up to 50%.   

“The results we’ve seen make us optimistic that we are getting closer to better treating this neurological disease and supports further investigation in clinical trials to confirm if these drugs can be used to prevent or treat dementia.”

Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects around 400,000 people in the UK, is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.

It develops when the immune system – which usually fights infection – attacks the cells that line the joints and can also affect other parts of the body, including the lungs, heart and eyes.

Prof Edwards, who is based at Southampton General Hospital, said the discovery shows that DMARDs could provide a potential new dementia treatment.

He said: “As inflammation is a characteristic feature of many other conditions, including dementia, drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and reduce inflammation may also be beneficial for patients with other diseases.

“This has already been shown to be the case for treating patients with heart disease, where initial promising results are now being further investigated in large clinical trials.”


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2 thoughts on “Research Team Carries on Dementia Prevention Work”

  1. My mom is 93. She is usually quite lucid but she does have a few signs of dementia (difficulty comprehending, forgetting people she once knew well, thinking that a woman is breaking into her home at night to replace good clothes with cheap clothes).
    I saw a few of your other articles and have been able to implement some of the suggestions:
    Getting my mother to agree to hearing aids, take coconut oil, accept eye surgery, walk more.
    Other areas she is stubborn about trying (better diet, volunteering). But at least there has been improvements.
    Putting additional locks on the front door has also calmed her fears of the “woman” breaking in, and declarations of “clothing swaps” are way down.
    Very informative and practical info to be found here! Keep up the great work! Your articles leave me feeling both encouraged with what I’m doing/have done for my mom, and also give me good ideas to focus on for the future in whatever time we have left. Thanx!

    1. Hello, this is Carol with I’m so happy to hear about the improvements with your mom. Coconut Oil is great for a lot of medical issues. I started my website last year after my mom died at age 68 with dementia that went full-blown to Alzheimer’s. It is an extremely sad sickness that deprives us of precious time with our loved ones. I pray that you continue improvements with your mother and if there is anything I can do to help, please, let me know. Thank you so much for your comment. I wish the best for you, your mom, and your family.

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