Drugs used to treat diabetes could also be used to treat Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.
This is also the first study of its kind to show that Alzheimer's disease can lead to diabetes, as opposed to diabetes occurring first as was previously thought.
The study reports that Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes are so closely related that drugs currently used to control glucose levels in diabetes may also alleviate the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer's disease.
The paper, published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes ( EASD ), found for the first time that dementia-related complications within the brain can also lead to changes in glucose handling and ultimately diabetes.
This is contrary to what was previously thought that diabetes begins with a malfunction in the pancreas or a high fat, high sugar diet.
The researchers developed a model of Alzheimer's disease and were surprised to find that increased levels of a gene involved in the production of toxic proteins in the brain not only led to Alzheimer's -like symptoms, but also to the development of diabetic complications.
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.
This study provides a new therapeutic angle into Alzheimer's disease.
Some of the compounds that are used for obesity and diabetic deregulation might potentially be beneficial for Alzheimer's patients as well. ( Xagena )
Source: Diabetologia, 2016