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Can anti-depressants prevent Alzheimer’s?

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Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have found citalopram, an anti-depressant, stops plaque formation connected to Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s sufferers experience neurodegenerative problems that may include symptoms such as: memory loss, dementia, confusion, losing items, words or ideas, and difficulty problem solving.

Studies of Alzheimer affected brains indicate amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. It has yet to be determined if the plaques lead to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or arise after the disease is underway.

Researchers published in Science Translational Medicine (May, 2014) that Citalopram (Celexa and Cipramil) reduces the production of amyloid. In mice plaque growth was halted, and plaque formation decreased by 78%.

Citalopram is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). Often used to treat depression, anxiety, and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), all SSRI’s tested by researchers showed the reduced amyloid production.

Using SSRI’s during early onset symptoms of Alzheimer’s, such as patients diagnosed with preclinical dementia, may greatly benefit from the lowered amyloid production yielding in slower plaque formation, and longer cognitive abilities.

Additionally, patients with Alzheimer’s often experience depression and anxiety simultaneous with their neurodegenerative condition. SSRI’s would afford additional relief from such secondary affects of the disease.

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