Metformin is the first-line treatment for most cases of type 2 diabetes and one of the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide, with millions of individuals using it to optimize their blood sugar levels.
In a new study, researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes who used metformin experienced a slower cognitive decline with lower dementia rates than those who did not use the medication.
The findings provide new hope for a means of reducing the risk of dementia in people with type 2 diabetes, and potentially those without diabetes who number nearly 47 million people worldwide.
The research was conducted by a team at UNSW Sydney.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to meet its needs, leaving affected individuals unable to maintain blood glucose levels within a normal range.
This can lead to long-term health complications, including cognitive decline.
As they age, people living with type 2 diabetes have a staggering 60% risk of developing dementia, a devastating condition that impacts thinking, behavior, the ability to perform everyday tasks, and the ability to maintain independence.
In the study, the team analyzed data from 123 people who had type 2 diabetes. Among them, 67 received metformin to lower blood sugar levels.
They found that people with type 2 diabetes taking metformin had much slower cognitive decline and lower dementia risk compared to those not taking metformin.
Metformin has been used safely to treat type 2 diabetes for 60 years.
It works by reducing the amount of glucose released from the liver into the bloodstream and allows the body’s cells to better respond to blood glucose levels.
Studies over the last decade have revealed evidence of metformin’s benefit in cancer, heart disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and weight management.
While the current study suggests metformin may have cognitive benefits for people living with type 2 diabetes, the researchers say it may also benefit those at risk of cognitive decline more broadly.
One author of the study is Professor Katherine Samaras.
The study is published in the journal Diabetes Care.
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