Benefits of metformin and other stories . . .

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4883 (Published 07 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4883

Metformin was discovered to lower blood sugar 90 years ago, but nobody took much notice. Now there is a flurry of interest in this lowly biguanide: not for the first time, it has been shown to prolong life in mice (Nature Communications 2013, doi:10.1038/ncomms3192). And more importantly, it has been associated with a lower risk of dementia than other diabetes drugs, according to a recent presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2013. People on treatment for type 2 diabetes are at about double the baseline risk for dementia, but those on metformin alone are about 20% less likely to develop it, after adjustment for other factors (Clinical Endocrinology News, 30 July 2013). Nor should doctors worry unduly about prescribing metformin to patients with impaired renal function, according to a QJM article (2013, doi:10.1093/qjmed/hct155): in men as in mice, it is just a question of getting the dose right.

Fertility is a combination of biological capacity and intent to multiply, and whole population figures can provide little information to distinguish between these. You need to study cohorts of couples trying to conceive, …

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