People with gout have lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease"Gout could help prevent Alzheimer's, research shows," The Independent reports. Researchers think that uric acid, which causes gout, may have a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease.
Uric acid is a waste product that is normally passed out of the body. In cases of gout, the acid builds up around one or more joints, forming tiny crystals. This can then trigger the symptoms of gout, which are typically a sudden severe pain and swelling around the affected joint(s).
Previous research has found that uric acid is also an antioxidant (which helps to protect against cell damage), so researchers wanted to see if uric acid protected against Alzheimer’s.
The researchers used information from a UK database of more than 3.7 million patients. They matched people aged over 40 who developed gout with controls who did not, and followed them, on average, for five years to see how many were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They took multiple factors into account when analyzing the results, such as medication use and age.
They found that 309 out of the 59,224 people with gout (0.5%) developed Alzheimer’s disease, compared to 1,942 out of 238,805 people without gout (0.8%), which translates into a 24% reduction in risk.
The study does not prove that gout is protective against Alzheimer’s, as there could be unmeasured factors that affected the results.
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