Metformin and Cognition


Anchor lead: Can a diabetes drug help reduce Alzheimer’s risk? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Metformin is the first line medication for type 2 diabetes, and now an Australian study has shown that people taking it experience less Alzheimer’s disease compared to those not taking the drug. Rita Kalyani, a diabetes expert at Johns Hopkins, says the observation fits with what’s known about diabetes.

Kalyani: The link with potential cognitive function has been recently reported. We know that people with type 2 diabetes also are at greater risk of developing dementia. Dementia has been called type 3 diabetes or insulin resistance of the brain, and we do know that there is insulin signaling and insulin receptors in the brain as well. So this recent study that reported the benefit of metformin potentially in cognitive function from a plausibility perspective, is not surprising.  :30

Kalyani says other studies have shown that metformin may also improve longevity, but it’s far too early to take the drug for either of these reasons in the absence of diabetes. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.