Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Mar;32(3):497-505. Epub 2009 Apr 22.
Previous studies have indicated a decreased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in anti-inflammatory (AI) drug users. Yet few studies have determined whether AI drug use provides a protective effect against normal age-related changes in the brains of older adults. Regional volume changes in gray and white matter were assessed cross-sectionally using optimized voxel-based morphometry in 36 females taking AI drugs as arthritis or pain medication and 36 age- and education-matched female controls. Although mean gray and white matter volume differences between AI drug users and the non-AI group were small, AI drug use interacted with age, such that the non-AI group showed significantly greater age-related volume changes in regions of both gray and white matter compared to the AI drug users. These regions included the superior and medial frontal gyri, middle and inferior temporal gyri, fusiform and parahippocampal gyri, and occipital gray matter as well as temporal, parietal, and midbrain white matter. The results are consistent with the notion that AI drugs provide protection against age-related changes in brain volume. It is possible that inflammation plays a role in volume decreases associated with normal aging, and that suppressing the inflammatory response moderates this decrease.