love yeWhy would you give mice Prozac?  Well……not to improve their moods.   Have you ever seen a depressed mouse???  I didn’t think so.

Researchers used Citalopram (a medication quite similar to Prozac as it is an SSRI….Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor) in mice to see if this reduced the production of Beta-Amyloid protein in their brains, as this protein over-production and accumulation is strongly associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.   Citalopram strongly reduced the accumulation of this protein, and in human volunteers, it reduced the amount of Beta-amyloid protein found in the cerebrospinal fluid.

Could Prozac and similar medications help prevent Alzheimer’s disease?  This data is suggestive, but further studies will be required to further elucidate the connection.  In the meanwhile, patients on these medications can take some comfort in the idea that they are getting protections while also treating their mood and anxiety symptoms.  Rather than worrying ‘what is the medication doing to harm me’, it’s nice to think that such medications may be providing additional benefits beyond what we imagined.