Diabetes drug helps against Alzheimer's


Study: Diabetes drug "Metformin" is said to help against Alzheimer's. Scientists from Berlin have found that the active ingredient protects the molecular genetics of the brain cells and prevents death.

Berlin researchers have found that the type II diabetes drug metformin can also treat Alzheimer's disease. The drug originally used to treat diabetes can, according to Professor Dr. Susann Schweiger from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics protect the brain cells and prevent their death.

When she was riding a bicycle, it occurred to her that "due to its mechanism of action, metformin should actually also work for Alzheimer's disease," said Prof. Susann Schweiger. The connection between sugar metabolism and the development of Alzheimer's has long been known in the professional world. Accordingly, the risk of a corresponding neurodegenerative disease is significantly increased for type II diabetics. Based on Prof. Schweiger's idea of ​​riding a bicycle, the expert, in collaboration with numerous European colleagues, has now been able to demonstrate that metformin activates an enzyme in the brain that can prevent the brain cells from dying in patients with Alzheimer's. In this way, the drug used in type II diabetes also seems to have a positive effect on the course of Alzheimer's disease, the expert explained.

Protection against Alzheimer's even in healthy people
With the support of the international working groups, she was able to prove that metformin also has a protective function for the brain cells not only in type II diabetics, but also in healthy people, explained Prof. Schweiger. Prophylactic administration seems to be quite possible. In addition, experts who are already suffering from Alzheimer's could be treated with metformin in the future, the experts hope. If diagnosed early, the disease could possibly be stopped and those affected from serious Alzheimer's disease saved, the scientists explained. In order to investigate the prophylactic and therapeutic applications in more detail, metformin will first be tested in two different animal models and then a clinical trial will be started within the next two to five years.

However, the prophylactic use of metformin in actually healthy people is not entirely unproblematic. Because although most of the side effects of the preparation such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are rather harmless and only occur in the early stages of therapy, metformin can lead to overacidification of the organism in infections with massive vomiting and persistent, severe diarrhea, especially in patients with kidney failure or in connection with Anesthetics trigger life-threatening lactic acidosis. The lactate level in the blood increases with a simultaneous drop in the blood pH, which can lead to acidification of the blood and in extreme cases to a shock and failure of the kidney function.

Nevertheless, the prospect of prophylactic use of medication against the special form of dementia offers a reason for hope, especially for older people, because the risk of Alzheimer's disease increases with increasing age. In Germany, according to estimates by the health authorities, around 2 percent are affected by the 65-year-olds, 3 percent by the 70-year-olds, 6 percent by the 75-year-olds and around 20 percent by the 85-year-olds. According to the scientist led by Prof. Schweiger, over half the people over the age of 90 show Alzheimer's symptoms such as lack of orientation in terms of time and space, loss of previous knowledge or skills, and growing helplessness. Those affected in the end stage of the disease are usually dependent on care around the clock. Despite various promising research results, there is no prospect of healing and prevention has so far been the only method to counteract the neurodegenerative disease.

This is where the results of Prof. Schweiger and colleagues come in, who hope to be able to use prophylactic measures against Alzheimer's with the help of metformin. Given the gloomy predictions made by most experts regarding the increase in Alzheimer's disease over the next few decades, a glimmer of hope is on the horizon for many. Because in the course of demographic development, d. H. As society ages, Alzheimer's disease in Germany is expected to double by 2050, currently affecting around 700,000 people in Germany. (fp)

Also read:
Alzheimer's: Vitamin B can prevent dementia
Diabetes drug increases risk of heart attack?
Memory loss: emotions remain
Vegetables and fish for Alzheimer's prevention
Dementia and Alzheimer's

Photo credit: Harald Wanetschka / pixelio.de

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