All the systems in the human body are connected, and scientists occasionally realize a medication developed for one condition can also treat another. A 2017 study at Lancaster University found that a drug intended for diabetes management may be able to alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This medication seems to alleviate the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease through three separate mechanisms.
What’s the Link Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s?
For a long time, type 2 diabetes has been a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes tends to cause issues in the brain because glucose is the main fuel for brain cells. When diabetes causes insulin desensitization, nerve cells in the brain tend to degenerate. This occurs because insulin protects nerve cells, but diabetic seniors do not properly regulate their insulin levels. Since diabetes tends to increase Alzheimer’s risk and severity, any type of type 2 diabetes drug may keep the brain healthier in general.
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The Latest Research
The diabetes drug that has been linked to Alzheimer’s treatment contains GIP, GLP-1, and glucagon. Older versions of this drug have already been found to alleviate certain symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, so Dr. Christian Holscher decided to test the new one on elderly lab mice with mutated genes that cause Alzheimer’s to develop. In the study, which was published in Brain Research, Holscher provided details about his findings. It turns out the mice who were on the drug were able to remember routes through mazes and learn how to find their way through new mazes more easily. Holscher believes this promising outcome shows the drug could also be beneficial for humans with Alzheimer’s disease.
Currently, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but seniors who need help managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can benefit from professional in-home care. Rockwall home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
How the Drug Manages Alzheimer’s Disease
The diabetes drug treats Alzheimer’s symptoms through a three-pronged approach. It boosts levels of nerve growth factor, which is a substance that protects the nerve cells in the brain from damage. The drug also reduces the level of beta amyloid protein plaques that clog the brains of seniors with Alzheimer’s. It further treats Alzheimer’s by reducing general inflammation levels so the brain can function better. This all combines to slow the overall rate of nerve cell loss in test subjects with Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s Next for the Alzheimer’s Treatment?
Holscher feels the diabetes medication holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. This could be a major breakthrough, since no new Alzheimer’s disease drugs have been discovered for years. However, there is still quite a bit of research to do before the drug can be used for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers need to test the drug on human subjects and get it approved as a treatment for Alzheimer’s before it becomes widely available to the public.
Older adults who need help managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another health issue can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Rockwall Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (972) 722-7833 today.