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Study Suggests Viagra May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Study Suggests Viagra May Lower Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease

A new study conducted by researchers at the University College of London‘s School of Pharmacy suggests that Viagra, a popular drug used to treat erectile dysfunction, may also have potential benefits in lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Viagra and other phosphodiesterase Type 5 inhibitors work by relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow, primarily to the penis.

The study analyzed the health records of nearly 270,000 men in the U.K. who were diagnosed with erectile dysfunction between 2000 and 2017. Researchers compared rates of Alzheimer’s disease between men who were prescribed medications for their erectile dysfunction and those who were not. The results showed that men who were prescribed drugs had an 18% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who were not.

It is important to note that the study does not establish a causal relationship between erectile dysfunction drugs and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s, but it does provide strong evidence for further research in this area. The study’s senior author, Ruth Brauer, believes that these drugs could potentially be repurposed for Alzheimer’s treatment.

Previous studies conducted in the U.S. have explored the connection between erectile dysfunction drugs and Alzheimer’s risk, but have yielded conflicting results. However, Brauer’s study included more detailed information from anonymized medical health records from the U.K.’s National Health Service, allowing for better adjustment of potential confounding factors. Even after accounting for these factors, the connection between the drugs and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s remained.

While the mechanism behind this potential protective effect is not fully understood, it is hypothesized that the drugs’ ability to improve circulation may help clear the buildup of toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Animal studies have also shown that these drugs indirectly increase levels of acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in memory and learning.

The study’s findings also suggest that the protective effect of the drugs is stronger among older men, particularly those aged 70 and older. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings and to explore their potential benefits and mechanisms.

One limitation of the study is that it relied on prescription data, without confirmation of whether the prescriptions were filled or properly used. Additionally, the study did not account for factors such as physical or sexual activity levels, which could potentially influence the results. Brauer hopes that future research will address these limitations and include trials involving both men and women.

Rachel Adams

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