Alzheimer’s Disease is the leading form of dementia, a progressive disease, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Research is being conducted throughout the world seeking a cure for this dreaded disease.
Two groups working to find ways to fight Alzheimer’s are at Seoul National University in South Korea and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Both groups are working with mefenamic acid that is a commonly used NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) for the treatment of menstrual pain. It is perhaps better known by its trade name, Ponstel.
Dr. David Brough at The University of Manchester found that mefenamic acid totally reversed brain inflammation and memory loss in mice. Research is finding that an inflammatory pathway exists in the brain, called the NLRP3 inflammasome. It is this pathway that damages brain cells and ultimately leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Yoo-Hun Suh and his team from the department of pharmacology at Seoul National University are finding that mefenamic acid reduces the damaging neurotoxic effects of peptides while also reducing the production of nitric oxide, a harmful free radical. Furthermore, their research shows improved learning and memory in rat models.
The next step is to obtain Phase II trials to determine a proof -of-concept that will determine if mefenamic acid has an effect on neuroinflammation in humans.
Research needs to continue to determine if mefenamic acid is a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s by blocking a certain part of the immune response. Still, this drug has side effects, and continued research is needed to be sure it is effective and safe in humans.