Patients with a history of gout may be at a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, reported Na Lu of Boston University and coauthors.

The large cohort study used electronic medical records from general practices in the United Kingdom’s The Health Improvement Network (THIN) to find 309 new cases of Alzheimer’s in 55,224 patients with gout and 1,942 cases in a comparison group of 238,805 patients during a median follow-up of 5 years. Gout patients had a multivariate-adjusted 24% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the investigators found (hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.66-0.87).

This difference may be due to the potential neuroprotective effects of uric acid, Ms. Lu and colleagues said in the report. “Overall, these findings support the proposed hypothesis that supplementary use of the metabolic precursor to uric acid, like inosine or hypoxanthine, could prevent and attenuate the progression of AD,” they wrote.Read the full paper in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases ( 2015 March 4 [doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-206917]).

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