Diabetes medications reduce the severity of Alzheimer's

Diabetes medications reduce the severity of Alzheimer's

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What do drugs for diabetes do in Alzheimer's?

People with Alzheimer's could benefit from treatment with inexpensive diabetes medication. Researchers have now found that medication for diabetes can reduce the severity of Alzheimer's.

In their current study, the scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that the use of diabetes medication can help people with Alzheimer's. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "PLOS ONE".

Do diabetes medications protect the blood vessels in the brain?

The experts wanted to try to understand why Alzheimer's patients with type 2 diabetes had less protein accumulation in their brains. To do this, they examined the tiny blood vessels in the brain of people with both diseases. When patients were taking diabetes medication, their brains were in better shape. The scientists suspect that the drugs insulin and metformin, which help regulate blood sugar, also maintain the blood vessels in the brain. This could prevent toxins leading to dementia from occurring, the researchers speculate. For their study, the scientists analyzed the brain of 34 Alzheimer's patients who were also treated for type 2 diabetes. In addition, 30 non-diabetics with Alzheimer's disease and 19 people with neither disease were examined.

Results could lead to more targeted treatment

The results don't mean that people who don't have type 2 diabetes should start taking diabetes medications to protect themselves from Alzheimer's, says study author Professor Vahram Haroutunian from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The results could lead to more targeted treatment of Alzheimer's patients in the future. The published study gives cause for hope that the drugs for diabetes could also reduce the severity of Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain in which the build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die.

More research is needed

Professor Haroutunian says that most modern Alzheimer's treatments target so-called amyloid plaques but still don't lead to effective treatment of the disease. Diabetes medication can reduce blood vessel abnormalities found in Alzheimer's disease, which can help prevent toxins and bring important nutrients. Further studies should now be conducted on people using similar medicines. In addition, drugs that have similar effects on the biological pathways and cell types of the brain identified in this study should also be examined more closely, the authors of the study explain. (as)

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