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Over-the-counter drugs may damage seniors’ brains: study

May 4, 2016

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Dr. Sandra Black, director of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute, commented on research linking prolonged use of anticholinergic drugs with physical brain changes and cognitive impairments in older adults.

Anticholinergic drugs block the action of a chemical called acetylcholine in the nervous system. They are found in nonprescription allergy and cold medicines such as Benadryl and Dimetapp, as well as drugs to treat urinary incontinence and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Researchers studied brain scans and cognitive test results of 451 seniors, including 60 who were taking anticholinergic drugs for at least 30 days. Differences among those taking anticholinergics included reduced brain volume and lower scores on memory tests.

» Read the full story on CTV News

» Read about Dr. Black’s research into changes in the brain’s blood vessels and development of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke