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Approved Research

Mechanistic insights on the relationship between oral hypoglycemic drugs and cognition

Principal Investigator: Dr Walter Swardfager
Approved Research ID: 58608
Approval date: September 2nd 2020

Lay summary

Recently, diabetes has been shown to increase the risk of dementia. Individuals with diabetes may have damaged blood vessels, which can lead to many issues. Treating diabetes might be a possible strategy for the prevention of dementia so that socioeconomic burden resulting from the care of dementia can be reduced. Drugs used to treat diabetes target different parts of the body in order to lower blood sugar. Evidence suggests that these drugs may be helpful to patients who have dementia, and to those who may be at risk for dementia; however, whether each of these drugs offers the same level of brain benefit is not known, nor is the way that each of these drugs might benefit the brain beyond lowering blood pressure or blood sugar.

By looking at the large amount of data available in the UK BioBank, this study aims to determine if specific diabetes medication choices are associated with different benefits in preventing or managing dementia-related features. This study also aims to identify brain changes that differ between the use of different medications. We will examine people with normal brain function, mild-to-moderate brain issues, and dementia, specifically Alzheimer's disease. We will study their medication use over time, and see which types of medications might be related to better functioning and slower decline. This research will provide evidence what types of medications to prescribe to an individual with diabetes that might help to optimize their brain health.