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Viagra and Alzheimer's prevention: a unlikely couple

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Michael Douglas praised the "little blue pill" back in 2005 for its ability to help him overcome the 25-year age difference with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones. But he probably didn't ever think the benefits would extend to his brain.

That's the discovery made by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic that has the potential to revolutionize Alzheimer's disease prevention and treatment. The researchers went through a three-step process: First they used artificial intelligence to help them discover interactions between 1,000-plus Food and Drug Administration-approved meds and receptors in the brain and body. Then, in the lab, they saw that sildenafil (Viagra) decreased attachment of amyloid to brain nerve cells and blocked hyperphosphorylation of tau proteins -- signs that brain-interfering tangles are developing. The researchers then used insurance claim data for 7.23 million individuals to discover that sildenafil reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in men by 69%, compared with guys who didn't take it. Bonus: There were a few women taking it for pulmonary high blood pressure -- and they, too, saw a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Following users and non-users for six years, the researchers also found that sildenafil reduced the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 55% compared with losartan and 65% compared with diltiazem (they're blood pressure meds) and 63% compared with metformin and 64% compared with glimepiride (both diabetes meds).

The next step: a randomized controlled trial to verify the preliminary findings. So ... don't pop the pill without doctor supervision, and stay tuned for more data. A solution to Alzheimer's disease may be on the horizon.

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Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Mike at question@GreatAgeReboot.com.

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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