Diabetes drugs may also work for dementia

According to recent research, the same drugs used to treat diabetes and high blood pressure may also help to slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The study, performed by King's College London, singled out one drug class and four individual drugs that may work to combat dementia symptoms--and perhaps offer a faster, new form of treatment for Alzheimer's patients. Another study published in September found similar results, where anglotensin receptor blockers, drugs used to manage high blood pressure, were found to reduce plaque buildup in the brains of people with Alzhemier's.

A cheaper, faster treatment?

Researchers note that the results of the King's College study not only help them identify existing drugs which may help treat dementia, but they also provide direction as to which other types of drugs could be developed to produce similar results.

Diabetes medications, such as exenatide and liraglutide, were found to reduce brain plaque, while calcium channel blockers from high blood pressure medications also seemed to slow the progression of dementia. As blood pressure and brain health are intimately connected, blood-pressure lowering drugs can make a difference in overall brain function.

Further research on liraglutide, specifically, is already in progress by the Alzheimer's Society.

Professor Clive Ballard, lead author of the study and Director of Research at Alzheimer's Society, notes the importance of this ground-breaking research:

"This study identifies existing treatments and shows the potential to identify other similar drugs which are safe and if effective in clinical trials could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease in 10 years or less. We are urgently working to take this work forward to start making a difference to the lives of people with dementia."

The study was published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery today. Researchers hope to continue the work by employing clinical trials.

Sources: Daily Mail, Alzheimer's Society

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