Viagra can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by almost 70%, study finds

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Viagra was originally marketed as a heart medication, but quickly became known as a cure for erectile dysfunction.

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Taking viagra could reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70%, according to a new study.

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The discovery may seem ridiculous, but the to study taps into a gigantic pool of data – the insurance records of 7.4 million people in the United States

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio found that patients who took sildenafil, more commonly known as viagra, were 69% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the next six years compared to patients who didn’t. were not using the drug.

The team considered factors such as race, age and gender, but it’s important to note that the study does not necessarily indicate a definite causal effect as it is based solely on observations. It is possible that patients who observe the associations have something else preventing them from developing the disease.

However, the study, published Dec. 6 in the journal Nature Aging, may provide a glimmer of hope for the more than half a million Canadians currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that impairs a person’s memory and thinking skills, leaving them unable to perform the most basic tasks in their most severe state.

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“Notably, we found that the use of sildenafil reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people with coronary heart disease, hypertension and type 2. Diabeteswhich are all comorbidities significantly associated with the risk of the disease, as well as in those who do not,” explained Fiexiong Cheng, lead study author and computational biologist, in a Press release.

Cheng and his team constructed 13 endophenotype modules – categorizing behavioral symptoms according to their most closely related genetic cause – and used computational techniques to map genetic factors that may lead to a manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease. .

With the modules in hand, the researchers then screened the more than 1,600 FDA-approved drugs to see which ones could hypothetically help against the identified phenotypes.

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Sildenafil, they wrote, turned out to be one of the best candidates.

The drug, they explained, appeared to target the intersection of amyloid and tau proteins, which both contribute to disease development and therefore may show the “greatest potential for success”.

“Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, is presented as the best drug candidate,” the study states.

Sildenafil users, they said, had a 55% reduced risk compared to losartan, which treats high blood pressure, 65% compared to diltiazem, which treats severe chest pain, 64% compared to glimepiride and 63% compared to metformin – both of which treat high blood sugar levels.

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Viagra was originally marketed as a heart medication, but quickly became a cure for erectile dysfunction after it was discovered to increase blood flow to the penis. However, using the drug comes with a number of side effects, which can range from upset stomach, dizziness and headache to loss of vision, hearing and priapism. (a long lasting and sometimes painful erection).

It’s hard to say what the side effects of using viagra to treat Alzheimer’s disease would look like because the study is simply based on observational results. But the researchers are planning a clinical trial to test the observed results and see if there is, in fact, a realized association between the drug and the disease.

“Because our results uniquely establish an association between sildenafil use and a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, we are now planning a mechanistic trial and a phase two randomized clinical trial to test causality and confirm the clinical benefits of sildenafil for patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” Cheng said.

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