World News – UA – Metformin treatment linked to slowed cognitive decline


Metformin is the first-line treatment for most cases of type 2 diabetes and one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world, with millions of people using it to optimize their blood sugar

A new research study, conducted over six years as part of the Sydney Memory and Aging Study of 1,037 Australians (aged 70 to 90 initially), found an additional effect: people with diabetes type 2 patients who used metformin experienced slower cognition decrease with lower dementia rates than those who did not use the drug

The findings offer new hope for a way to reduce the risk of dementia in people with type 2 diabetes, and potentially those without diabetes who number nearly 47 million people worldwide

The study was conducted by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Center for Healthy Brain Aging (CHeBA), UNSW Sydney, and published in the journal Diabetes Care

« We have revealed the promising new potential of a safe, widely used drug that could change the lives of patients at risk for dementia and their families. For people with type 2 diabetes, metformin may add something more than the standard blood sugar reduction in diabetes care: a cognitive health benefit, ”says lead author Professor Katherine Samaras, Head of Healthy Aging Research Theme at the Garvan Institute and endocrinologist at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to meet its needs, making it difficult for those affected to keep their blood sugar levels within a normal range This can lead to long-term health complications, including cognitive decline

« As they age, people with type 2 diabetes have a staggering 60% risk of developing dementia, a devastating disease that affects thinking, behavior, the ability to perform daily tasks and the ability to maintain independence This has immense personal, family, economic and societal impacts, ”says Professor Samaras

Researchers in this study looked at data from participants in CHeBA’s Sydney Memory and Aging study In this cohort, 123 study participants had type 2 diabetes and 67 were given metformin to lower blood sugar Researchers tested cognitive function every two years, using detailed assessments that measured cognition on a a number of abilities, including memory, executive function, attention and speed, and language

The results revealed that people with type 2 diabetes taking metformin had significantly slower cognitive decline and a lower risk of dementia than those who did not take metformin Remarkably, in people with type 2 diabetes taking metformin, there was no difference in the rate of decline in cognitive function over 6 years compared to those without diabetes.

Metformin has been used safely to treat type 2 diabetes for 60 years It works by reducing the amount of glucose released by the liver into the bloodstream and allows cells in the body to respond better to blood glucose levels

Studies over the past decade have shown the benefits of metformin in cancer, heart disease, polycystic ovary syndrome and weight management While the present study suggests that metformin may have benefits cognitive effects for people with type 2 diabetes, researchers say may also benefit people at risk of cognitive decline more broadly

« This study provided promising initial evidence that metformin may protect against cognitive decline Although type 2 diabetes is thought to increase the risk of dementia by promoting degenerative pathways in the brain and nerves , these pathways also occur in other people at risk of dementia and it is possible that insulin resistance is the mediator ”, explains Professor Samaras

« To establish a definitive effect, we are now planning a large randomized controlled trial of metformin in people at risk for dementia and evaluating their cognitive function over three years This may allow us to reuse this inexpensive drug with a robust safety profile to help prevent cognitive decline in the elderly. »

CHeBA’s Sydney Memory and Aging Study is an observational study of older Australians that began in 2005 and studies the effects of aging on cognition over time

Professor Perminder Sachdev, lead author of the study and co-director of CHeBA, says: “While an observational study does not provide conclusive ‘evidence’ that metformin protects against dementia, it does encourage us to investigate this and other diabetic treatments for the prevention of dementia Metformin has even been suggested as anti-aging The intriguing question is whether metformin is useful in people with normal glucose metabolism More work is clearly needed  »

Diabetes, type 2 diabetes, dementia, metformin

World news – UA – Metformin treatment linked to slowing cognitive decline


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