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Viagra May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk, New Study Claims

Viagra
A new study shows that men who take Viagra have 18 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Credit: Audrey Disse / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

In a new study, scientists from University College London suggest that men who use drugs like Viagra for erectile dysfunction might lower their chances of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers looked at over 260,000 men and found that those using these drugs were eighteen percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. However, more research is needed to confirm if this is a direct effect of the drugs.

Two new drugs for Alzheimer’s have displayed significant potential in slowing down the progression of the disease during its initial phases. These drugs target a substance called beta amyloid, which accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, as reported by BBC.

By doing so, they could revolutionize the approach to treating the condition. However, researchers are also persistently exploring already existing medications that might be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Viagra also affects brain cell activity

Medications like Viagra were initially developed to address high blood pressure and angina. Their mechanism involves influencing a cell-signaling messenger that might be associated with memory functions.

Moreover, these drugs are known for impacting the activity of brain cells. Studies conducted on animals indicate that they could potentially offer some level of protection to the brain.

In a recent study published in Neurology, scientists from University College London examined the prescription records of numerous men dealing with erectile dysfunction. They compared those who had been prescribed drugs for the condition with those who had not received such prescriptions.

Over the subsequent five years, they observed 8.1 cases of Alzheimer’s per 10,000 person-years among the group that had been prescribed the drugs, while the group not taking them showed 9.7 cases.

Men who received the highest number of prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs appeared to have the lowest risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This indicates that consistent use of the drug might have a more significant effect on the disease.

However, researchers emphasize that their study does not prove that the drugs themselves directly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Instead, it could signal a new direction for further investigation.

Researchers to conduct trials on both men and women

Dr. Ruth Brauer, the lead author, stated, “More research is needed to confirm these findings, learn more about the potential benefits and mechanisms of these drugs and look into the optimal dosage.”

Additionally, the researchers aim to conduct trials involving both women and men to assess the drug’s impact.

Numerous factors could contribute to the development of the disease. The study adjusted its results for several variables, such as age, underlying health conditions, other medications taken, and smoking status.

Dr. Francesco Tamagnini, a neurophysiologist from the University of Reading, described the study as “great,” emphasizing the necessity for more concrete evidence regarding how the drug impacts the brain.

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