A new study has found that a common drug treatment for diabetes could help in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimers disease (AD). They found that the drug, metformin, which is used to treat people suffering from type 2 diabetes, has benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s and may also prevent its onset in healthy people.
The research, by scientists at the University of Dundee and international colleagues, showed that metformin ‘significantly activates’ a protein that can stop cell death in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Susann Schweiger, professor of molecular medicine at the Division of Medical Sciences at Dundee University, who led the study, said she had the idea for the treatment when she was cycling to work. She said “I knew about the effects that metformin had in type 2 diabetes. I was cycling to work one day and it occurred to me that if metformin can work in type 2 diabetes and given its mode of function, then it should also have beneficial effects in Alzheimer’s disease.”
It is known that sugar metabolism is a critical factor in how AD develops, and that diabetics faced a higher risk of getting the disease than non-diabetics .
Dr Schweiger also commented “The implications of this research are that, because metformin is already often used in clinical practice, it could go into a clinical trial with Alzheimer’s patients soon.” The researchers are seeking funding for a large-scale, pre-clinical trial to examine the effects further.

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