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Note from Clint

If obesity, type 2 diabetes and dementia are the biggest health threats the world faces, executives at Novo Nordisk must be smiling. The Danish pharmaceutical company has developed a blockbuster drug for weight loss (Wegovy), one for type 2 diabetes (Ozempic), and the same active ingredient in these drugs (semaglutide) is being tested to treat dementia.

Obesity is a known risk factor for dementia, so reducing rates of obesity should have an impact on rates of dementia. But that’s not the only way semaglutide might reduce the risk of developing dementia. Chronic brain inflammation is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia) and vascular dementia. And semaglutide has been shown to dampen brain inflammation – at least, in mice. We’ll have to wait till 2026 before we know if it works in people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, but the promise is tantalising.

Plus, find out how French president Emmanuel Macron may have been undone by the populism that helped put him in office. And why – in real life – cars don’t explode when they crash.

Clint Witchalls

Health + Medicine Editor (UK edition)

Marie Odgaard/EPA

Wegovy and Ozempic: could the new weight-loss drug also treat dementia?

Tim Viney, University of Oxford; Barbara Sarkany, University of Oxford

The much-discussed weight-loss jab may be good for treating Britain’s biggest killer: dementia. Trials are underway.

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