Diabetes drug taken by millions could slash your risk of dementia by a third | The Sun

A DRUG used to treat millions with type 2 diabetes could slash your risk of dementia by up to a third, experts have claimed.

The pills actos, known as pioglitazone, were found to slow down mental decline.

When given to people with type 2 diabetes, the 30p medication helps control blood sugar levels by helping to boost insulin, medics in South Korea said.

There are around 3.8 million people living with a diagnosis of diabetes in the UK, 90 per cent of which have type 2.

By 2030, this number is set to increase to 5.5million, data from Diabetes UK states.

Those who have the condition are prone to dementia, experts say, as both conditions have links to poor circulation.

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Lead author Dr Eosu Kim, of Yonsei University in South Korea, said: "Since dementia develops for years before diagnosis, there may be an opportunity for intervening before it progresses."

Benefits were strongest for those who also had a history of stroke or ischaemic heart disease, a condition caused by narrowed arteries.

They were 43 and 54 per cent less likely to develop dementia, respectively.

Overall, incidence fell by 16 per cent among participants prescribed the drug – with cases falling the longer they were on it.

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Case rates reduced 22 and 37 per cent in participants using the medication for two and four years, respectively.

The findings are based on 91,218 individuals in South Korea tracked for an average of ten years, 3,467 of whom received pioglitazone.

Writing in the journal neurology, the experts said that people taking the drug were also less likely to have a stroke.

Dr Kim said: "These results provide valuable information on who could potentially benefit from pioglitazone use for prevention of dementia.

"In some previous studies of people with dementia or at risk of cognitive decline who did not have diabetes, pioglitazone did not show any protection against dementia.

"So it is likely a critical factor affecting the effectiveness is the presence of diabetes. More research is needed to confirm these findings."

During the study, 8.3 per cent of those taking pioglitazone developed dementia, compared to ten percent not taking it.

The number of dementia cases worldwide will triple to more than 150 million by 2050.

The symptoms of dementia you need to know

The NHS states that people with dementia are likely to lose interest in their usual activities and might have trouble managing their emotions.

Other signs include:

  • memory loss
  • thinking speed
  • mental sharpness and quickness
  • language, such as using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking
  • understanding
  • judgement
  • mood
  • movement
  • difficulties doing daily activities

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