It turns out that coming down with a common form of inflammatory arthritis could help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease. While gout is a painful and debilitating disease on its own, few would argue that it’s worse than a degenerative brain disease like Alzheimer’s, which takes your mind before it takes your life.
According to the New York Times, a recent study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University Medical Center linked gout with a significant reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers studied 59,204 British patients with gout (both men and women) and compared them to 238,805 people without gout. Monitoring the health of the patients for five straight years revealed that only 309 of the patients with gout were later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease while an alarming 1,942 of patients without gout got Alzheimer’s. Those with gout had a 24 percent lower risk of contracting Alzheimer’s.
“Our work shows the potential protective effect of a high level of uric acid and gout against the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Hyon Choi, senior author and professor at Harvard Medical School.
According to WebMD, gout is caused by high levels of uric acid, which is also the direct cause of protection against Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“This is a dilemma, because uric acid is thought to be bad, associated with heart disease and stroke. This is the first piece of data suggesting uric acid isn’t all bad. Maybe there is some benefit. It has to be confirmed in randomized trials, but that’s the interesting twist in this story.”
This new research came on the heels of another study that suggested gout could also prevent Parkinson’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases. However, scientists are still unsure exactly how uric acid works to protect against Alzheimer’s. The cause of the correlation between gout and Alzheimer’s has not yet been investigated.
“This is just an initial finding,” Choi admitted of the Alzheimer’s findings. “One paper doesn’t make science.”
In addition to the patients examined by Choi and his team, the Alzheimer’s study also used medical records from the United Kingdom from 1995 to 2013 and information from an electronic database called the Health Improvement Network (THIN), according to Fox News. This data revealed that from 3.7 million patients over 40, people diagnosed with gout were at a 24 percent reduced risk of getting Alzheimer’s from those without gout.
While getting gout may not be an ideal way to prevent Alzheimer’s, it’s a step in the right direction.
However, researchers at Stanford may have already found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Would you be willing to get gout to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?