An erectile dysfunction can protect against Alzheimer’s disease


The erectile drug sildenafil is probably the best known drug. The medicine, called Viagra, has been in use since 1998.

Now, an analysis of US health insurance data shows that sildenafil significantly reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. There is no known cure for a degenerative memory disorder.

Examination of the registry data of more than seven million people showed that people who received a prescription for sildenafil were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than those who did not receive the medicine.

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In a six-year study, the use of sildenafil reduced the likelihood of diagnosis by 69%. The result was standardized according to age, ethnic background and gender. The study was published in a scientific journal Nature Aging.

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Assistant Professor at Cleveland Clinic Feixiong Chengin the group mapped 13 changes in protein levels associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They then looked at which of the 1,600 drug molecules approved in the United States affect many proteins.

Sildenafil looked promising, so the team looked at its potential effects using a health insurance database. The result only tells about the correlation, not the cause and effect relationship. It remains to be seen exactly how sildenafil would affect the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Professor of Pharmacology Raimo Tuominen finds the result surprising. It should be treated with caution.

“Sildenafil is a short-acting drug that is used only when needed,” says Tuominen. It is difficult to deduce from the prescription alone how regularly sildenafil has been taken.

In theory, however, a mechanism could exist.

“Sildenafil works by dilating blood vessels. So, in principle, you could think that using it would, for example, reduce blood pressure or improve blood circulation in the brain in a way that has not yet been noticed, ”says Tuominen.

Thus, sildenafil could also be thought to be beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

“For now, however, this is speculation. I assume that this will be investigated further soon. It would not be difficult at all. Many long-acting compounds also belong to the same group of medicines. ”

On the other hand, it is possible that the association is partly or completely explained by non-drug factors that have not been standardized in the study.

One would also think that those who use erectile dysfunction are not the most disadvantaged. Poverty predisposes to many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

It could also be assumed that users of erectile dysfunction are more likely than average to have a relationship or partner. Loneliness has also been seen as a predisposition to disease.

“Or you can think of the indirect effect that an erectile dysfunction improves the quality of life, which increases well-being and thus creates protection against memory disease,” says Tuominen.


Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.

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