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Longevity Briefs: Metformin, a common diabetes drug, slows cognitive decline and reduces dementia in elderly

Posted on 25 September 2020

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Metformin is a drug which has been used to treat type 2 diabetes since the mid 90’s. Metformin works by improving the way your body handles insulin, helping to lower blood glucose levels. The drug has more recently been shown to have the beneficial effect of slowing the process of biological aging, and is currently the target of the TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin) trial. However, there has been controversy around whether metformin increases or decreases dementia prevalence.

What did the researchers do: In a paper published in the American Diabetes Association, researchers gathered over 1000 70-90 year olds without dementia, 123 of whom had diabetes. Half of these candidates were prescribed metformin. The participants underwent neuropsychological testing every 2 years to measure cognitive function. The researchers then compared changes in cognitive function between the groups.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: The data showed that the participants with diabetes who received metformin had significantly slower cognitive decline and lower incidents of developing dementia than those who had not received it. This study provides evidence that metformin is beneficial regarding cognitive function into old age.

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