New research this week is the latest to suggest that certain drugs intended to treat type 2 diabetes may also help prevent dementia in people at high risk. groups. The study found that older people who used a relatively older class of anti-diabetic drugs were less likely to develop dementia than those who used other common anti-diabetic drugs. The results could warrant further clinical trials to confirm the untapped potential of these drugs, according to the authors.
Dementia is the progressive and ultimately fatal loss of cognitive function that regularly impairs a person’s ability to remember, reason, and eventually perform basic tasks like eating. There are several forms of dementia and many different factors that make people more vulnerable to developing it, including our genetics. A middle finger alleged contributor at risk of dementia is type 2 diabetes. And that has led some researchers to wonder if drugs that can successfully manage diabetes can also reduce a person’s risk of dementia.
Unfortunately, research on this link has been mixed, with some studies showing that popular diabetes drugs like metformin are linked to a lower risk of dementia, but other studies To display no potential benefit. In this new research, the researchers decided to look at a class of diabetes drugs that has received less attention in the field of dementia research, drugs known as thiazolidinediones or TZDs.
The team analyzed the medical records of more than half a million people with type 2 diabetes aged 60 and over who received care through Veterans Affairs, the largest care network interconnected health. in the USA. They compared the long-term results of people who took at least a year of TZD with people taking other diabetes medications like metformin and another class of drugs called sulfonylureas. These people were diagnosed without dementia before starting treatment and were followed for an average of almost seven years. People taking only metformin were used as a control group because the drug is the most common first-line drug. option for type 2 diabetes and people who have not been prescribed medications for their diabetes tend to be healthier than the typical patient.
Over the study period, those taking TZDs alone were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with any form of dementia when they compared to those taking only metformin. They also found that these people were 11% less likely to be specifically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Additionally, patients were 57% less likely to develop vascular dementia, which accounts for about 10% of cases. The conclusions were published Tuesday in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
There can be many different causes of dementia, and it is likely that any preventive effect of TZDs or other drugs would also be complicated. But circulation problems are common in diabetic patients and are a known risk factor for vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers therefore say that TZDs may primarily prevent dementia by helping to promote healthier circulation.
These results show a correlation between taking TZD and a lower risk of dementia, but not final cause and effect. And TZDs are not exempt from their own concerns. These drugs were developed in the 1990s and are still widely used today.but more often as a second line option. In the mid-2000s, some research suggested that certain TZDs could increase the risk of heart attack, leading the Food and Drug Administration to put a warning label on the TZD drug rosiglitazone. Later studies did not confirm this connection and the warning label was finally deleted. But more recent research has rekindled this debate, and drugs are still not advised for patients at high risk of heart failure.
That said, the authors say the findings should prompt more research into the potential benefits of these drugs for dementia, including clinical trials. And assuming they are validated, the research could shed light on how doctors treat diabetic patients at high risk for dementia. The team found, for example, that people taking sulfonylureas alone were actually more likely to develop dementia than those taking metformin or TZDs. If these drugs somehow increase the risk of dementia, the researchers say, it might be helpful to combine them with metformin or TZDs to offset that risk. The possible effect of TZDs in the prevention of dementia has been also greater in overweight or obese people, suggesting that these patients would benefit the most. Other new diabetes drugs are also under study for their potential in preventing dementia.
“Our results provide additional information to help clinicians select [antidiabetic medications] for patients with mild to moderate type 2 diabetes and high risk of dementia,” the authors wrote.
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