Metformin – Linked to Better Motor Function in Parkinson’s

Metformin – Linked to Better Motor Function in Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is a disease that directly affects a person’s movement, often including tremors, loss of balance, stiffness and slow movement. When the nerve cells or neurons in some area of the brain damage, the dopamine levels drastically drop which in turn causes symptoms of Parkinson’s.

It’s a disorder of the central nervous system, however, the symptoms can be taken care of with the right medication. If not treated with care, Parkinson’s symptoms tend to get worse over time which could ultimately also cause difficulty in walking and talking. And that’s not all! Some people may also experience behavioural and mental changes, such as, sleep disorder, fatigue, depression and memory issues. While Parkinson’s is found in both middle-aged or old men and women, it affects about 50 per cent more men than women.

While there are a number of treatments for Parkinson’s, such as, acupuncture, surgery, rehabilitation and nursing, drug therapies is the most commonly used treatment for this disease. Drugs including dopamine receptor agonists, compound levodopa, monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors and other ancillary drugs have proved to be therapeutic for the treatment of Parkinson’s, however, they all have significant adverse side-effects. But, the good news is that an anti-diabetic drug could actually be of great help in alleviating or even altogether curing of the disease. It’s called Metformin!

Metformin is commonly used to treat type-2 diabetes. Any anti-diabetic drug tends to boost neuronal survival, promotes cell metabolism and nerve regeneration and inflammation, thereby, improving cognitive impairment and memory. This makes metformin a potential therapeutic drug in treating neurological disorders or diseases, such as, Parkinson’s.

A research study presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology 2020 found that adults who were suffering from both diabetes and Parkinson’s, and took metformin for the treatment performed way better on motor and non-motor tests, as well as on a few other measures of cognitive impairment, compared to patients who did not use metformin for their treatment.

Another research team of neuroscientists at the University of Tübingen have identified a protein that plays a vital role in keeping the energy production of cells balanced. When this protein goes missing, the cells lose balance which marks the onset of Parkinson’s. However, metformin slows down the uncontrolled generation of energy, thereby protecting the cells from the negative effects. This study indicates that anti-diabetic drug such as metformin may have a positive influence on certain types of Parkinson’s disease.

Metformin, however, has been in the news after the United States Food and Drug Administration alerted people on finding unacceptable levels of nitrosamine impurities in the drug. Diabetologists haven’t pulled the plug yet on the drug and are awaiting more data regarding its safety. Read more about it here!

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