Metformin usage linked with less dementia in people with diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a well-established risk factor for dementia and Parkinson’s Disease (PD), but according to a report by Marlene Busko in Medscape, a recent observational study of more than 112,000 US residents aged 50 years or older with Type 2 diabetes found that new users of metformin had about a 20% lower rate of incident dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia compared to new users of sulfonylurea during five years of follow-up. However, they were not at lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) nor PD.

The authors used observational data from the Optum electronic health record dataset of patients in the United States, focusing on patients for whom at least one year of follow-up data were available for the period 2006–2008, as well as at least one year of follow-up data before starting treatment with either metformin or a sulfonylurea. Patients included in the analysis had to continue taking either metformin or a sulfonylurea for at least two years. The patients had not been diagnosed with dementia, MCI, or PD at the time of this treatment onset.

The authors claim that this is the largest observational study to investigate the association between metformin and multiple neurodegenerative outcomes, and that it provides stronger evidence of the potential neuroprotective qualities of metformin regarding risk of dementia. Further confirmation of its findings might lead to repurposing metformin to treat dementia as well as helping to develop novel therapies for dementia.

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