In a new and exciting attempt to cure Alzheimer’s, researchers are looking at a possible link between the disease and another serious ailment — diabetes. Now, the way the link works is sort of complicated.
Researchers haven’t found a direct link that shows diabetics are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s than people who don’t suffer from the condition. What they have found is that the way sugar is processed in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is similar to a process seen in the entire bodies of diabetic patients. For this reason, the diabetic drug known as “Avandia” has been tested in Alzheimer’s patients in a recent preliminary trial.
The results showed that certain people with the disease could benefit from the drug. However, other Alzheimer’s patients with genetic abnormalities that increased the speed of decline were not helped by the medication. Still, enough patients found a benefit from the drug that researchers are now lining up a series of trials to test the overall benefit of this diabetes drug in Alzheimer’s sufferers.
The two diseases do have a history of being connected. The strain on blood vessels caused by diabetes has been shown to destroy the blood vessels that supply the brain. Some researchers have stated that this is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases. But the connection doesn’t stop there.
If something in the brain is stopping cells from using sugar for energy, this could lead to plaque buildup or a decline in the health of brain cells. By applying the same drug that is used for diabetes, researchers hope to improve the way in which the brain can utilize that sugar, thus slowing the decline of Alzheimer’s.
For now, it’s not certain whether or not this drug will be a solution to Alzheimer’s. However, if you suffer from diabetes, it is a good idea to make sure you control your blood sugar levels, so as to ensure that you don’t damage your brain cells. This can help you live a longer and more mentally rewarding life.