5-speed listening (Level 4)

Over-the-counter medicine may shrink brain






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Many of us go to pharmacies for headache tablets, cough syrups or allergy treatments. However, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs may cause more harm than good. A newly published journal says many of these medicines may have serious side effects. These include cognitive damage, dementia and even brain shrinkage. This happens in older adults who take OTC medicines for asthma, aches and pains, insomnia and allergies, etc.

Researchers from Indiana University looked at the link between OTC drugs and brain function in older people. The scientists found that OTC drugs lower our glucose metabolism, so the brain isn't as healthy. The research gives us a better understanding of the brain and "ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia". A researcher said she would not tell her grandparents to take OTC drugs unless they had to.

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