Metformin boosts cognition in rat model MS study

A new study found that diabetes medication metformin helped improve coordination, lessen cognitive impairment and normalise neuronal activity in a rat model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Metformin, an oral treatment of type 2 diabetes, is thought to work mainly by activating a protein called AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase), which has a variety of effects on different tissues. Several of these effects work to lower blood sugar levels.

Researchers induced an MS-like condition in rats, then treated them with metformin for two weeks. The rats performance in tests improved significantly, and the rate of electrical firing in their brains increased.

Some rats were also given a chemical to block AMPK, and the beneficial effects of metformin were inhibited. Based on these findings the scientists said they think AMPK activation should be further researched as a useful treatment approach for MS.