Results of a new study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease suggests a link between rheumatoid arthritis and a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The Los Angeles Times reports the research found that a protein released in those who have arthritis may attack amyoloid deposits in the brain, which is one of the main causes of the mental illness.
According to the news source, the study was conducted by injecting two groups of mice with the protein, with one group altered to have memory problems and the other comprised of naturally old rodents.
After 20 days, the mice with memory problems experienced a 50 percent decrease in amyloid plaque buildup.
The findings are encouraging as the protein is already available in an FDA approved medication called Leukine, which has been used to treat cancer patients.
"Our study, along with the drug's track record for safety, suggests Leukine should be tested in humans as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease," lead author of the study Huntington Potter told the news outlet.
The Alzheimer's Association estimates that 5.3 million Americans currently suffer from the disease, and deaths from Alzheimer's rose 41.6 percent from 2000 to 2006.