Diabetes Treatment Also Able To Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

research workResearchers from the University of Aberdeen suggest that drugs used to treat diabetes can also be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease, and vice versa. The study is also the first of its kind to show that Alzheimer’s disease can also lead to diabetes and not just the other way around, as most scientists previously thought. The findings were published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The researchers reported that type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are so closely related that drugs used for controlling blood glucose levels may also be effective in arresting the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. They found out for the first time that complications in the brain related to dementia can also affect glucose management that can ultimately lead to diabetes. This is contrary to the previously held belief that diabetes comes about when there is a malfunction in the pancreas or by eating a high fat, high sugar diet.

The research came as a collaboration between Professor Bettina Platt and her Alzheimer’s research team and Professor Mirela Delibegovic and her diabetes research team. Both teams were interested in trying to find out why both diseases were commonly found together in their elderly patients.

The researchers developed a model of Alzheimer’s disease and found out that increased levels of a particular gene associated with the production of toxic proteins in the brain not only resulted in Alzheimer’s disease like symptoms but also resulted in the development of diabetic complications.

According to Prof. Platt, “Many people are unaware of the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, but the fact is that around 80% of people with Alzheimer’s disease also have some form of diabetes or disturbed glucose metabolism. This is hugely relevant as Alzheimer’s is in the vast majority of cases not inherited, and lifestyle factors and comorbidities must therefore be to blame.”

The research collaboration certainly helped in their investigation concerning the link between the two mentioned diseases. It was also able to provide them some surprising new insights regarding this common association.

“Until now, we always assumed that obese people get type 2 diabetes and then are more likely to get dementia — we now show that actually it also works the other way around,” says Prof. Platt. “This study provides a new therapeutic angle into Alzheimer’s disease and we now think that some of the compounds that are used for obesity and diabetic deregulation might potentially be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients as well. The good news is that there are a number of new drugs available right now which we are testing to see if they would reverse both Alzheimer’s and diabetes symptoms. We will also be able to study whether new treatments developed for Alzheimer’s can improve both, the diabetic and cognitive symptoms,” she further added.

Source: Diabetologia. (2016, June 21). New link found between diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 21, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160621112107.htm

 

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