Boston: Parkinson’s disease may be reduced by about 38 per cent in adults who take painkillers on a regular basis as compared to non-users, a new Harvard research has suggested.

"There is no cure for Parkinson's disease, so the possibility that ibuprofen, an existing and relatively non-toxic drug, could help protect against the disease," a senior author Alberto Ascherio, Professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) said.

Parkinson's is a neurological disease that attacks the central nervous system of people above 50 years and creates difficulty in walking, eating, besides freezing (long motionless periods), head and limb tremors.

The study conducted by Harvard scientists took into consideration data from nearly 99,000 women and 37,000 men of US enrolled in a health study in their six-year long research beginning in 1998.

The researchers evaluated their subjects' use of ibuprofen, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs and found 291 cases suffering from the Parkinson disease.

The study published in the journal 'Neurology' reveals that the disease reduces with the increase of ibuprofen intake as compared to the other anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.

"We observed that men and women who used ibuprofen two or more times per week were about 38 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who regularly used aspirin, acetaminophen or other non-steroidal anti--inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)," HSPH research scientist Xiang Gao, who conducted the study said.

A tentative explanation for the link is that ibuprofen reduces inflammation in the brain and protects its cells from death.

"Our findings suggest that ibuprofen could be a potential neuroprotective agent against Parkinson's disease, however, the exact mechanism is unknown," he said.

However, the findings do not mean that people who are already suffering from Parkinson's disease should begin taking ibuprofen, Ascherio added.

"Although generally perceived as safe, ibuprofen can have side effects, such as increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding," he said.

World boxing champion Muhammad Ali and US-Canadian actor Michael J Fox were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

 

(Agencies)