Is there a link between medication and Alzheimer’s?
One of the largest concerns of people advancing is age is developing Alzheimer’s. A large aspect of keeping the brain healthy is to fire when it should, not fire when it shouldn’t, make new connections, and remove old or dying neurons to keep the brain clean.
But what if some of the drugs a person is taking is increasing those odds?
One good study showed that taking drugs like Gabapentin and Lyrica can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. These drugs work by stopping signals of the brain, most notably pain, but they aren’t selective meaning they stop signals and growing connections globally – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/…/PMC27917…/pdf/nihms155643.pdf
Another study showed that taking benzodiazepines (like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium for sleep and anxiety also increased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Again, these drugs send a ‘stop’ signal – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25208536
Also, taking anticholinergic drugs (like Benadryl) long-term has been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s as well – https://jamanetwork.com/…/jamainternalm…/fullarticle/2091745
But what of cholesterol? Since that molecule is necessary for growing and firing a neuron it is very necessary for brain health. This is especially important since cholesterol is nowhere close to the villain it was thought to be in relation to heart attacks and strokes (in the Framingham heart study 40% of people with heart attacks and strokes had a cholesterol below 150). Perhaps getting cholesterol low is putting the cart before the horse? – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12648780
It is important to understand why a person is requiring certain medications to function, but it is equally as important to get to the root cause so unwanted side effects won’t possibly show up later in life.
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Photo credit: Image 1: indiatoday, Image 2: UPMC
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