Parkinson’s Awareness Week: Diabetic patients can reduce risk of Parkinson’s by taking metformin

A large scale and long-term Taiwanese study has found that diabetes almost doubles the risk of developing Parkinson’s but that by including metformin in the treatment regime for diabetes, there was no increase in the risk of developing the neurological condition.

The researchers also found that sulfonylureas, a common treatment for diabetes, dramatically increases the chances of a diabetic patient developing Parkinson’s disease. However, an alternative diabetes treatment, metformin “…seems to be working to protect the brain against neurodegeneration which contributes to Parkinsonism…” according to lead author of the study, Professor Mark Wahlqvist.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological condition in which patients develop problems with their movements, mood and memory amongst others. It is thought that around 127,000 people in the UK are suffering from the condition with an additional 2.8 million people diagnosed with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

A disorder caused by insufficient or absent production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas, or because the tissues are resistant to the effects. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary

Associated with the nervous system and the brain.

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Continuously increasing in extent or severity. Full medical glossary
A waste product formed from the breakdown of proteins. Full medical glossary
Relating to the urinary tract. Full medical glossary