Medical

Diabetes drug found to reverse symptoms of memory loss in Alzheimer's mice

Diabetes drug found to reverse...
A new study has found that a drug originally developed to treat diabetes could significantly improve the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease
A new study has found that a drug originally developed to treat diabetes could significantly improve the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease
View 1 Image
A new study has found that a drug originally developed to treat diabetes could significantly improve the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease
1/1
A new study has found that a drug originally developed to treat diabetes could significantly improve the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease

The fascinating connection between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease has been studied for several years, with some scientists going so far as to suggest the two conditions are different stages of the same disease. A team of researchers has now discovered that a drug initially developed to treat type 2 diabetes has "significantly reversed memory loss" in early animal trials.

The new research led by Professor Christian Holscher of Lancaster University looked at the neuro-protective effects of a novel diabetes drug called a triple receptor agonist. This drug was initially designed to treat type 2 diabetes by activating GLP-1, GIP and Glucagon growth factor receptors in the brain.

The study used transgenic mice engineered to express the same mutated genes that cause Alzheimer's in humans. After exposure to the triple receptor agonist the mice displayed significant improvements in a maze-based memory test and reductions in chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and amyloid plaques in the brain.

Past research has already confirmed that single agonist drugs developed for diabetes display neuroprotective effects in animal models, but this is the first time that a triple receptor drug has been studied for these effects. Professor Holscher sees clear promise in these results, and while more research needs to be done, this does point to a potential new treatment for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"Here we show that a novel triple receptor drug shows promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's but further dose-response tests and direct comparisons with other drugs have to be conducted in order to evaluate if this new drugs is superior to previous ones," says Holscher.

Perhaps an even more compelling outcome of this study is that it adds to a growing body of evidence that links diabetes to Alzheimer's. Of course, not everyone who develops type 2 diabetes will go on to develop Alzheimer's, but there is a possible causal link between impaired insulin signaling and increased amyloid plaques in the brain.

The new study was published in the journal Brain Research.

Source: Lancaster University via Eurekalert

2 comments
HaiKarate
Evidence of a link between diabetes and long-term memory loss doesn't surprise me at all. I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic almost exactly 11 years ago. I had unknowingly been diabetic for at least two or three years before diagnosis. Upon being diagnosed and starting on insulin I almost immediately experienced neuropathy (nerve pain) that would normally only be seen in a long-term diabetic. This was highly unusual and the neurologists I dealt with could only find one other reported case of this happening. For 10 months I was in constant pain, and if I could sleep soundly for 90 minutes a night I considered myself lucky.
Along with the neuropathy I definitely experienced a drastic reduction in the efficiency of my memory. Only 4 or 5 years before I was diagnosed my employer had described me as having "a mind like a steel trap" but afterwards for several years I noticed that I could hardly ever remember details of new information. I've told many doctors about this and it has been universally dismissed out-of-hand, but it was so acute and so frustrating that I definitely find vindication and satisfaction in seeing that these links are finally being recognized.
Like the pain, the memory loss has subsided over the intervening years, yet at times even today I'm surprised when I can remember something easily.
Eggster
HaiKarate, your experience with sleep deprivation would most likely be the primary cause of your memory issues.