Anti-diabetic medication linked to fewer abnormal brain changes in Alzheimer’s disease

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By Alice Tuohy | Thursday 01 November 2018

PLOS One: Endothelial and insulin receptor signalling pathways in Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes

Researchers in the US have found that people with Alzheimer’s disease who had also been treated with antidiabetic medication, have fewer signs of abnormal gene activity in an area of the brain involved in memory. The findings are published today (1 November) in the scientific publication, PLOS One.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and there is a lot of interest in the links between the two conditions. In this study, researchers found that key changes in gene activity found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s were lower in people who took diabetes medications. While lower levels of abnormal gene activity could indicate a potentially beneficial effect of diabetes drugs, it could also be an effect of the disease itself.”

“The only way to tell if antidiabetic drugs could help tackle Alzheimer’s disease is through comprehensive clinical trials. Alzheimer’s Research UK has funded key research in this area that has led to a clinical trial of an existing antidiabetic drug in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

“While we wait to see the outcome of ongoing trials, it is vital we continue to see increased investment in dementia research to help find treatments that can slow the spread of damage through the brain.”


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Alice Tuohy