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Men on Viagra may reduce their Alzheimer’s risk – study

In a recent study involving over 260,000 men, researchers have uncovered a potential association between certain erectile dysfunction medications and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The study suggests that men who were prescribed these drugs were 18% less likely to develop dementia compared to those who did not take them.

However, it’s important to note that further research is needed to establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between these medications and Alzheimer’s prevention. While recent breakthroughs have shown promise in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s by targeting beta amyloid build-up in the brain, scientists are exploring alternative medications for potential Alzheimer’s prevention.

The erectile dysfunction medications in question, such as Viagra, were originally designed to treat conditions like high blood pressure and angina. They work by affecting cell-signalling pathways, which may also impact memory function. Studies in animals have suggested a potential protective effect of these drugs on the brain.

In the study published in Neurology, researchers from University College London analyzed prescription records of men with erectile dysfunction. Their findings revealed that over a five-year period, those who were prescribed these drugs had a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s compared to non-users. Interestingly, men who received more prescriptions for these drugs appeared to have an even lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that this study does not definitively establish a direct link between these drugs and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. Lead author Dr. Ruth Brauer emphasized the need for additional research to confirm these findings, understand potential benefits, and determine optimal dosage.

While the study adjusted for various factors such as age and underlying health conditions, more robust trials are necessary to establish a clear connection. Additionally, researchers are interested in conducting trials involving women to assess the potential impact on Alzheimer’s risk in both genders.

While the study presents intriguing evidence for further investigation, experts advise caution and stress the importance of additional research to comprehend how these drugs may affect the brain and their potential therapeutic benefits in Alzheimer’s prevention.

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