HEADLINES Published February18, 2016 By Beatrice Asuncion

Antacid Medicine Linked to Dementia

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(Photo : Christopher Furlong, Getty Images )

Almost everyone on the planet would experience heartburn or acid reflux at least once in their lifetimes. According to statistics, almost 40% of U.S. resident suffer from pain caused by heartburn at least once a month. Most of the 40% associate, acid with a certain type of food.

People suffering from mild acid reflux usually just refrain from eating food that trigger their heartburn. Some wear more lose fitting clothes while others try stay upright after eating. The more severe pain are often triggered by over the counter and prescription drugs. Amongst the most popular medicines for heartburn include Proton Pump Inhibitors or PPIs.  

Proton Pump Inhibitors are used to treat acid reflux by preventing the enzyme found in the wall of the stomach from producing acid. Most PPIs like Prevacid and Prilosec are relatively considered safe. However recent studies show that these popular antacids have a significant link with causing dementia.

Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease have recently studied the use of PPIs in 70,000+ men and women over the age of 75 who have yet to suffer from dementia. Over the next five years, 29,000 of the test subject developed Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. The scientists discovered that regular use of antacids increased the risk of dementia by 52% for men and 42% for women.

The team behind the study were quick to clarify that they don't claim PPIs cause dementia. They instead posit that there might be a link between the drugs and the development of the dreaded disease.

"Our study does not prove that P.P.I.s cause dementia. It can only provide a statistical association. This is just a small part of the puzzle. Clinicians, pharmacists and patients have to weigh the benefits against the potential side effects and future studies will help to better inform these decisions" explained Britta Haenisch, author of the study.

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