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Parkinson’s disease risk may be reduced by regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), which includes aspirin and ibuprofen, according to a recent UCLA study.

The study comprised of 579 men and women. Half of the group had Parkinson’s disease, while the other was free of the disease. For those in the group who took two or more NSAID pills a week for at least one month were considered regular NSAID users. Those who used fewer pills were considered non-regular users.

Researchers found that regular NSAID users, for 2 or more years, had a 60% reduced risk of Parkinson’s. Women who used aspirin had a 40% reduced risk of Parkinson’s, but the men did not benefit as well with regular use of aspirin. The researchers speculate that one reason men may have not benefited from regular aspirin use is that they may be taking it in lower doses for heart related reasons, while women may be using higher doses for arthritis or headaches. Exactly why NSAIDs appear to have a protective effect against Parkinson’s is not clear, but the anti-inflammatory quality is suspected to be a likely reason.

Although the findings are encouraging researchers feel that there is a pressing need for additional research as the baby-boomers age and the growing burden of Parkinson’s disease increases.

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