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Long-term Ibuprofen Therapy After Brain Injury Deteriorate Cognitive Abilities

The findings of the preliminary, animal-model study, which is set to appear online later in the month in 'Experimental Neurology', has explained on the possible implications for traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients // who are often prescribed such nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) as ibuprofen for chronic pain.

Because several studies in animals and humans have shown that long-term use of ibuprofen for inflammation improves outcome for Alzheimer's patients by reducing symptoms and delaying the onset of dementia, the researchers investigated whether ibuprofen improved long-term cognitive outcome in brain-injured animals.

Over four months, rats received ibuprofen in their food proportional to doses given to humans. In the two groups of injured rats (one fed ibuprofen and the other not), there was a significant overall deficit in the animals' ability to find an underwater platform in a Morris water maze, a common test used to assess cognitive ability in animals.

"But to our surprise, we found that the injured rats given ibuprofen were far worse compared to the injured rats that had no treatment at all," says lead author Douglas H. Smith, MD, Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair. "Although most untreated injured animals could find the platform, they were much slower to learn its location than non-injured animals. In contrast, almost none of the treated, injured animals could find the platform at all."

However, there were no outward signs of difference in the extent of atrophy in the hippocampus or cortex of treated versus non-treated injured rats. Although ibuprofen treatment did reduce chronic inflammatory changes in the brains of injured animals, which did not seem to have an influence over the extent of damage to the brain regions associated with learning and memory.

This initial study demonstrates that the effects of long-term treatment with NSAIDS like ibuprofen after a head inju
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