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Diet & Nutrition

An Over-The-Counter Remedy Could Eventually Fight TB

An over-the-counter remedy can help reduce age-related lung inflammation, according to a new study.

Researchers from The Ohio State University found that ibuprofen helped the immune cells of older mice fight tuberculosis bacteria just as effectively as the immune cells of younger mice.
The ibuprofen didn’t have any effect on the immune response of younger mice.

The old mice in the study were aged 18 months – the equivalent of 65 human years – while the younger mice were three months, the equivalent of the same age in a human.

“The inflammation-associated changes that we saw in the lung were a small finding, but an important finding because the implications are great,” said Joanne Turner, associate professor of microbial infection and immunity at Ohio State and senior author of the study. “We should be able to modify the environment in the lung. If we can reverse the inflammatory environment in a very straightforward way, that is a positive… Essentially, ibuprofen made the lungs of old mice look young.”

The research was published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

Although further research might lead to the conclusion that ibuprofen could work to reduce lung inflammation in elderly people with TB, Turner cautioned that she and her colleagues aren’t recommending that people use ibuprofen for reducing lung inflammation.

“You can actually reduce your inflammation as you age by being lean, eating well and exercising. And we know that in the elderly, people who are fitter live longer,” she said. “Inflammation is associated with sickness and frailty.”

Tuberculosis is a significant global health problem; more than nine million people worldwide are estimated to have active infections. About 1.4 million die of tuberculosis each year.

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