New research has confirmed the strong link between dementia and diabetes, and how drugs for diabetes could be key in helping with Alzheimer’s symptoms
A ground-breaking study has confirmed that Alzheimer’s disease can lead to diabetes. This is the first study to show this, as previously it was thought it was diabetes that triggered, or made you presupposed, to getting dementia.
In fact, the study claims that the link between the two conditions is so closely related that drugs used to control glucose levels in diabetes could also be used to help with symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study was published in the journal Diabetologia.
Researchers discovered that changes within the brain that can cause dementia may also lead to changes in the way the body handles glucose, which could then lead to diabetes. Previously, it’s been assumed that a high fat and high sugar diet and being overweight triggers diabetes, and this then leads to dementia.
Professor Bettina Platt, who led the study along with Professor Mirela Delibegovic, said:
‘Many people are unaware of the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, but the fact is that around 80 per cent 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.’
The study pointed to the fact that increased levels of a gene involved in the production of toxic proteins in the brain didn’t just lead to Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, but also diabetic complications.
‘Until now, we always assumed that obese people get type 2 diabetes and then are more likely to get dementia – we now show that actually it also works the other way around,’ added Professor Blatt.
‘This study provides a new therapeutic angle into Alzheimer’s disease and we now think that some of the compounds that are used for obesity and diabetic deregulation might potentially be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients as well.
‘The good news is that there are a number of new drugs available right now which we are testing to see if they would reverse both Alzheimer’s and diabetes symptoms.’