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SUNY Upstate seeking residents for 18-month dementia study

The main entrance of Upstate Medical University.
John Smith / WAER News
The Upstate Medical University Campus on a summer night.

A dementia prevention study originating from Columbia University is about to get underway soon in Syracuse. SUNY Upstate Medical University is seeking local residents to participate in the “MAP… or Metformin in Alzheimer’s Dementia Prevention Study.” Top geriatric researchers are looking to confirm whether the drug can help prevent those with mild cognitive impairment from getting full blown Alzheimer’s disease. Upstate medical geriatric chair Sharon Brangman says studies are promising.

“…And within that group, those people who were taking Metformin seem to have a lower risk. So, there’s a connection between diabetes and some of the changes we see in the brain that are seen in Alzheimer’s disease.”

Researchers are also trying to establish a closer link to lowering blood glucose in diabetics to boost memory while consistently medicated.

“So, if there is a disease process that connects diabetes or abnormal sugar metabolism with Alzheimer’s disease, this drug Metformin may actually block that process, so that we’re going to the basic foundation of the disease rather than just looking at the symptoms.”

The doctor explains that paying attention to a healthy diet is important…noting that the brain is very sensitive to sugar.

“And so any disease that impairs the body’s ability to process glucose can affect those cells… and it can affect the brain. So, if we know that, then we can start to look at ways of helping people maintain healthy blood sugar levels.”

Brangman says she thinks the research could lead to the postponement of Alzheimer's or slow it down, perhaps in conjunction with other therapies. Anyone interested in enrolling in the 18-month study may call Upstate’s geriatric research line at (315) 464-3285 or click here for more information.