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Heartburn pills can cause dementia when you’re older

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Don’t keep popping those heartburn pills to calm your indigestion after a meal.  Taking the pills most days for up to five years increases your risk of dementia when you’re older.

People taking the drugs—known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)—are up to 33 percent more likely to develop dementia.

PPIs lower levels of B12 in the body, a vitamin that’s important for brain health, and they also seem to raise the amount of the beta amyloid protein in the brain, which is commonly seen in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, say researchers from the University of Minnesota.

The researchers tracked the health of 5,712 people, aged between 45 and 64 when they were recruited into the study in the late 1980s.  Their use of PPIs—such as Losec, Pyrocalm and Prilosec—was recorded over the following 20 years.

During the study, around 10 percent of the participants developed dementia, and the researchers found that those who were taking a PPI most days for up to four-and-a-half years were 33 percent more likely to suffer from dementia than those who never took the drugs.  However, people taking the drugs less frequently and for a shorter time weren’t affected.

References
Neurology, 2023; doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207747
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