Painkillers little help against dementia

Hopes that painkillers might help stave off Alzheimer's disease were dampened by a large new study. Pfizer's Celebrex and the over-the-counter Aleve didn't benefit thinking skills as researchers had hypothesized. "These were not the results we were hoping for," one of the co-authors said. "We designed this study hoping we would see a protective effect of these drugs." They'll continue monitoring the participants to see if a delayed benefit crops up.

Previous studies had shown that people who took the drugs ran a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's, but those studies weren't designed specifically for that purpose. It's a bummer for Pfizer and Bayer (which makes Aleve), because proof of Alzheimer's prevention would translate into a big new use for those meds. "Unfortunately, as this paper demonstrates, research doesn't always translate into successful new treatments," a philosophical Dr. Gail Cawkwell of Pfizer told the LA Times.

- read the Times article