Scientists may have found a drug that not only treats diabetes but could also be used to treat Alzheimer’s through a triple method of action.
Published in Brain Research, the finding that diabetes medication ‘significantly reversed memory loss’ in mice surprised the scientists and is an important intervention in the treatment of both conditions.
Professor at Lancaster University, UK, and lead researcher on the study Professor Christian Holscher said that the treatment “holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease”.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and the number of cases are expected to rise to two million people in Britain alone by 2051.
According to Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at Alzheimer’s Society, there have been no new treatments for nearly 15 years.
Brown said: “It’s imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.”
The levels of brain growth factor, which protects nerve cell functioning, saw an enhancement, reducing the amount of amyloid plaques in the brain linked with Alzheimer’s, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
The drug also slowed down the rate of nerve cell loss.
Vitamins are also a good source for protection, as the B vitamins are known to guard against age-related brain shrinkage, along with citrus fruits and mushrooms.