Some Diabetes Meds Might Also Lower Alzheimer's Risk

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By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who instrumentality definite diabetes drugs whitethorn spot a slower diminution successful their representation and reasoning skills, a caller survey suggests.

Researchers successful South Korea recovered that among older radical who'd been having representation issues, those utilizing diabetes drugs called DDP-4 inhibitors typically showed a slower progression successful those symptoms implicit the adjacent fewer years. That was compared with some diabetes-free older adults and those taking different diabetes medications.

People connected DDP-4 inhibitors besides showed smaller amounts of the "plaques" that physique up successful the brains of radical with Alzheimer's disease.

Experts cautioned that the findings bash not beryllium the drugs tin forestall oregon hold dementia.

To bash that, researchers would request to behaviour clinical trials that straight trial the medications, said Dr. Howard Fillit, main subject serviceman for the nonprofit Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation successful New York City.

But, helium said, the survey adds to grounds that definite existing medications -- including immoderate for diabetes oregon high humor pressure -- could beryllium "repurposed" for protecting the aging brain.

In fact, different diabetes medications, specified arsenic metformin and GLP-1 agonists, are already being studied for slowing down declines successful representation and reasoning skills.

There has been little research, Fillit said, into DDP-4 inhibitors -- which see oral medications similar sitagliptin (Januvia), linagliptin (Tradjenta), saxagliptin (Onglyza) and alogliptin (Nesina). They stock a similarity with GLP-1 agonists, successful that they enactment connected the aforesaid "pathway" successful the body.

Fillit explained that DDP-4 inhibitors enactment by boosting humor levels of GLP-1, a gut hormone that stimulates insulin release. Insulin is simply a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

People with diabetes are resistant to insulin, which results successful chronically precocious humor sweetener levels. Some studies person recovered that radical with Alzheimer's besides person problems with insulin absorption -- and researchers person speculated that whitethorn lend to the encephalon degeneration seen successful the disease.

But Fillit said that diabetes medications mightiness person effects beyond improving insulin resistance.

Animal probe has suggested DDP-4 inhibitors tin trim encephalon inflammation and support encephalon cells from Alzheimer's-like injury.

For the existent study, researchers led by Dr. Phil Hyu Lee of Yonsei University College of Medicine successful Seoul reviewed the cases of 282 patients who had travel to their session with complaints astir their representation and reasoning abilities. Brain scans had shown each had grounds of amyloid -- the macromolecule that makes up Alzheimer's-related plaques.

Of those patients, fractional had diabetes: 70 were taking a DDP-4 inhibitor, and 71 were utilizing different diabetes drugs, astir often metformin and sulfonylureas.

On average, the researchers found, patients connected DDP-4 inhibitors had little amyloid buildup than either the diabetes-free patients oregon those connected different diabetes medications. And implicit the adjacent fewer years, they besides showed a slower diminution connected tests of representation and thinking.

The findings were published online Aug. 11 successful the diary Neurology.

Maria Carrillo, main subject serviceman for the Alzheimer's Association, stressed that the survey cannot beryllium DDP-4 inhibitors dilatory down the dementia process.

One of the study's limitations, she noted, is that patients' amyloid levels were lone measured astatine the start. So it's not wide whether those connected DDP-4 inhibitors had a slower accumulation of encephalon plaques implicit time.

It's good known, Carrillo said, that radical with diabetes person a higher hazard of processing Alzheimer's than those without diabetes -- though the reasons are not afloat clear, she added.

Insulin resistance, arsenic good arsenic precocious humor sugar, whitethorn partially explicate it, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Carrillo noted that this survey did not look astatine patients' semipermanent humor sweetener power -- and whether that had immoderate relation successful their rates of diminution implicit time.

"There is immoderate rationale for looking astatine these diabetes drugs successful radical with Alzheimer's," Carrillo said.

But similar Fillit, she said lone randomized objective trials -- wherever patients are randomly assigned to instrumentality a DDP-4 inhibitor oregon not -- tin beryllium whether determination are benefits.

One question for aboriginal studies, Fillit said, is whether DDP-4 inhibitors tin dilatory intelligence diminution successful radical without diabetes, oregon lone those with the disease.

Because Alzheimer's is truthful complex, Fillit said it is apt that medicine combinations -- aimed astatine antithetic mechanisms down the illness -- volition beryllium astir effectual astatine treating oregon preventing the disease.

Both of the nonprofits promote radical to devour a steadfast diet, exercise, debar smoking and prosecute successful mentally stimulating activities to assistance support their bodies and minds successful bully signifier arsenic they age.

More information

The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation has much connected protecting encephalon health.

SOURCES: Maria Carrillo, PhD, main subject officer, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Howard Fillit, MD, main subject officer, Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, New York City; Neurology, online, Aug. 11, 2021

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