Tuesday, March 8. 2011
Basic ibuprofen may have more health benefits than previously thought, as a new study found the household pain reliever may offer protection against the development of Parkinson's disease.
In a study of 136,000 healthy adults, researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered that those who took the painkiller at least twice a week for six years were 38 percent less likely to develop Parkinson's compared to those who regularly took acetaminophen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Although the connection between ibuprofen and Parkinson's is unclear, scientists hypothesize that the pain reliever may protect against the disease by reducing inflammation and targeting a certain receptor in the brain.
The exact causes of Parkinson's are still unknown to scientists, although it may be encouraged by genetics or certain environmental factors. Xiang Gao, the lead author of the study, told Bloomberg that more research must be conducted before physicians can solidly recommend ibuprofen to ward off the disease.
Individuals with a genetic history of Parkinson's may have more expensive health insurance rates, which could be reduced if ibuprofen is proven to protect against the ailment. However, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation reports the disease usually affects older adults and in most cases develops sporadically.
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