A large scale study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, found an interesting benefit of gout —a form of arthritis that is caused by a build-up of uric acid often found in certain meats, seafood, alcohol, and sweetened beverages — in the form of a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
The five-year study compared 59,204 British men and women who suffered from gout with 238,805 subjects who did not, the sum of whom had an average age of 65.In subjects with gout, 309 people also had Alzheimers; in subjects without, 1,942 subjects were affected by Alzheimer’s.
In patients with gout, researchers found a 24 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s. Although the data is only a preliminary indicator of the relationship between these two conditions, the paper’s senior author, Dr. Hyon K. Choi, a professor of medicine at Harvard, suggests that uric acid is the key.
“This is a dilemma, because uric acid is thought to be bad, associated with heart disease and stroke,” Dr. Choi told the New York Times. “This is the first piece of data suggesting that uric acid isn’t all bad. Maybe there is some benefit. It has to be confirmed in randomized trials, but that’s the interesting twist in this story.”