Most people are well aware that taking an Aspirin is a great way to help protect your cardiovascular system and help prevent a heart attack.
Doctors recommend taking one a day for that exact purpose.
But now there may be another great reason to take an Aspirin a day. There are strong links to it helping fight the pernicious neurodegenerative disease: Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience demonstrated that low dose Aspirin intake might stop the formation of Alzheimer’s pathology from developing.
This could help protect a person’s brain keeping their memory and cognitive function intact.
Researchers at led by Dr. Kalipada Pahan from the Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL, were interested to see if Aspirin would help dissolve protein structures called beta-amyloid plaques, a sticky buildup in the brain often associated with Alzheimer’s development.
These proteins are sticky in their consistency and are believed to “gum up the brain” which causes the onset of dementia.
This “gumming of the brain” keeps brain cells from communicating properly with one another. When the body recognizes this failure in communication the brain mobilizes immune cells to fix the problem. This immune response causes inflammation with eventually leads to the death of brain tissue.
Alzheimer’s is often the result of this form of brain death.
The reason these protein structures appear in the brain in the first place isn’t entirely understood.
However, researchers believe one of the underlying causes could be lysosomes — affectionately known as the “garbage disposals of the cell” — end up malfunctioning and the plaques aren’t flushed out of the brain.
Previous research linked low-dose aspirin use to boosting the lysosomes ability to eject these plaques from the brain, and Dr. Pahan and team wished to see if this connection was in clinically viable as a future treatment.
To test and see if Aspirin could help encourage lysosomal elimination of plaques the team modified the genes of lab mice to have an induced form of Alzheimer’s-like symptoms and brain pathology.
Once they modified the mice they measured how much plaque was in their brains.
By all appearances, the introduction of Aspirin as a treatment helped dissolve the plaques.
As Ana Sandoiu wrote in a recap of the study:
“The experiment revealed that aspirin intake upregulated TFEB, which, in turn, stimulated the production of lysosomes. Importantly, “oral administration of low dose of aspirin decreased amyloid plaque pathology in both male and female” mice.
The findings may be beneficial not only for people living with Alzheimer’s disease but also for the treatment of lysosomal storage disorders, a group of 50 rare conditions with symptoms ranging from mild to severe brain disease.
“The results of our study [identify] a possible new role for one of the most widely used, common, over-the-counter medications in the world,” says Dr. Pahan.
The research “adds another potential benefit to aspirin’s already established uses for pain relief and for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases,” he continues.
“More research needs to be completed, but the findings of our study [have] major potential implications for the therapeutic use of aspirin in [Alzheimer’s disease] and other dementia-related illnesses.”
This research certainly lends credence to the efficacy of Aspirin as an adjuvant for certain disease pathologies like heart disease, brain disease, and possibly more.