Gout May Be Protective Against Alzheimer's Disease

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Gout May Be Protective Against Alzheimer's Disease
Gout May Be Protective Against Alzheimer's Disease

THURSDAY, March 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Gout -- or the high uric acid levels that drive the condition -- may shield against dementia, according to research published online March 4 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Hyon Choi, M.D., a professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology, allergy, and immunology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues looked at a database involving the medical records of 3.7 million British patients over the age of 40, tracked between 1995 and 2013. The investigators looked specifically at two groups: 59,224 gout patients and 238,805 gout-free patients.

According to the researchers, 1,942 of the gout-free patients developed Alzheimer's disease, compared to only 309 gout patients. After accounting for factors such as age, gender, obesity levels, heart health history, and socioeconomic status, Choi's team found that people with gout had a 24 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

"The primary speculation is that uric acid is an effective scavenger of oxidative stress materials, which can be destructive in cells," Choi told HealthDay. "So it could be the anti-oxidative property of uric acid that plays a role."

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