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Metformin Use Is Associated With Slowed Cognitive Decline and Reduced Incident Dementia in Older Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study


OBJECTIVE: Type 2 diabetes (diabetes) is characterized by accelerated cognitive decline and higher dementia risk. Controversy exists regarding the impact of metformin, which is associated with both increased and decreased dementia rates. The objective of this study was to determine the association of metformin use with incident dementia and cognitive decline over 6 years in participants with diabetes compared with those not receiving metformin and those without diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A prospective observational study was conducted of N = 1,037 community-dwelling older participants without dementia aged 70-90 years at baseline (the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study). Exclusion criteria were dementia, major neurological or psychiatric disease, or progressive malignancy. Neuropsychological testing measured cognitive function every 2 years; a battery of tests measured executive function, memory, attention/speed, language, and visuospatial function individually. These were used to determine the measure of global cognition. Incident dementia was ascertained by a multidisciplinary panel. Total brain, hippocampal, and parahippocampal volumes were measured by MRI at baseline and 2 years (n = 526). Data were analyzed by linear mixed modeling, including the covariates of age, sex, education, BMI, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, smoking, and apolipoprotein Eepsilon4 carriage. RESULTS: Of n = 1,037, 123 had diabetes; 67 received metformin (DM+MF) and were demographically similar to those who did not (DM-noMF) and participants without diabetes (no-DM). DM+MF had significantly slower global cognition and executive function decline compared with DM-noMF. Incident dementia was significantly higher in DM-noMF compared with DM+MF (odds ratio 5.29 [95% CI 1.17-23.88]; P = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Older people with diabetes receiving metformin have slower cognitive decline and lower dementia risk. Large randomized studies in people with and without diabetes will determine whether these associations can be attributed to metformin.

Type Journal
ISBN 1935-5548 (Electronic) 0149-5992 (Linking)
Authors Samaras, K.; Makkar, S.; Crawford, J. D.; Kochan, N. A.; Wen, W.; Draper, B.; Trollor, J. N.; Brodaty, H.; Sachdev, P. S.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Katherine Samaras
Publisher Name DIABETES CARE
Published Date 2020-11-30
Published Volume 43
Published Issue 11
Published Pages 2691-2701
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.2337/dc20-0892
URL link to publisher's version