Saliva testing of amyloid-β42 (Aβ42) levels may contribute to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by determining AD risk and guidance on the use of prophylactic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), new research suggests.

Canadian investigators used a salivary ELISA test to measure Aβ42 levels in saliva. They found that elevations in Aβ42 levels in persons at risk for developing AD were similar to levels in individuals who already had AD.

Given that AD is a neuroinflammatory process that begins as early as 10 years prior to the onset of cognitive deficits, the researchers suggest that NSAIDs, initiated a decade prior to the typical age of AD onset, may be effective in staving off these inflammatory effects in people whose Aβ42 concentrations are found to be high.

“We have known since the 1990s that people taking anti-inflammatory drugs are spared from getting AD, but what we didn’t know then and know now is how soon before the disease you have to start taking these medications and roughly how much you need,” lead author Patrick McGeer, MD, PhD, professor emeritus, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.

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