Diabetes medication could help reducing one of the worst effects of aging – Innovita Research

Diabetes medication could help reducing one of the worst effects of aging

Aging is just not fun. At the later stages of your life you are more likely to encounter some serious health problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Once you hear this diagnosis, you know you’re in for a bad ending, because it is incurable. However, now scientists at the University of Toronto and the Sunnybrook Research Institute found that a common diabetes drug could slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Dementia is going to affect a huge portion of the world's population, but a common diabetes medication could at least slow down the progression of Alzheimer's Image credit: geralt via Wikimedia

Type 2 diabetes is actually a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. There are many people who have both conditions that it has been suggested that a common diabetes medication,  known as a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitor, is actually helping to slow down or even prevent the memory in Alzheimer’s. Until now, scientific knowledge on this topic has been limited, but now scientists study analyzed patients from 37 sites across the United States who had been treated with an anti-diabetic medication and found that DPP4 inhibitors could be helpful.

This study involved 807 patients with Alzheimer’s dementia and 1,192 patients with normal cognition. All of them had type 2 diabetes. In the control group, DPP4 inhibitors were still helpful at preventing Alzheimer’s, particularly in cases when the patient had the APOE ε4 gene, a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Meanwhile in people with a positive Alzheimer's diagnosis, these drugs were even more successful, because they slowed down the memory loss. Essentially, DPP4 inhibitors could help reducing the memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease, but for now scientists are only thinking about patients with type 2 diabetes.

Although scientists see the benefits of DPP4 inhibitors to people with Alzheimer’s disease, further studies are needed to explain the mechanism and figure out whether diabetes drugs could be used to treat this debilitating condition. 

Che-Yuan (Joey) Wu, lead author of the study, said: “This initial analysis could help guide clinical trials and inform studies examining the benefits of DPP4 inhibitors. These studies could further support DDP4 inhibitors as a potential therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease prevention and treatment.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the dominant cause of age-related dementia. One third of elderly are going to die with Alzheimer’s. In fact, dementia is one of the leading causes of death. But it’s not only that. People who get Alzheimer’s suffer from a debilitating loss of memory and cognitive abilities. Scientists are rushing to find a treatment, but so far – no success.


Source: University of Toronto