December 7, 2021
Now we really know it’s a man’s world: A research study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute has found that the a drug used to counteract erectile dysfunction, Viagra, may help to boost brain health and cut levels of toxic proteins that trigger dementia, according to a report by The Sun.
Medics say the findings, published in the journal, Nature Aging, suggest that “the little blue pill” soon could be prescribed to tackle dementia.
The authors are now planning a fresh study to test the benefits of sildenafil—the generic version of Viagra—in early Alzheimer’s patients.
A team from Cleveland Clinic looked at whether any of 1,600 approved drugs could be repurposed to tackle the underlying causes of the disease.
Lead researcher Dr Feixiong Cheng, from Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, said: “Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, presented as the best drug candidate.
Two in three cases of dementia are due to Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Jack Auty, lecturer in the Medical Sciences at the University of Tasmania, said: “This is exciting stuff,” adding, ““But we need further research. In the field of Alzheimer’s disease research, we have been excited by many drugs over the years, only to have our hopes dashed in clinical trials.”
She said: “While sildenafil is most well-known as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, it’s also used to treat high blood pressure in the lungs. In this study, researchers also found that its use is linked with fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease in American adults. The researchers conducted lab-based experiments to give an indication as to why the drug may have impact diseases like Alzheimer’s, but these early-stage experiments would need follow-up in more thorough tests.”
Meanwhile, health officials in the United States recently approved the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly 20 years. Despite controversy over the trial results, the Food and Drug Administration said it granted approval to the drug developed by Biogen.
Research contact: @TheSun