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Diabetes drug 'could be used to treat dementia'

Diabetes drug 'could be used to treat dementia'
27th March 2014

Researchers have discovered that a diabetes treatment could be used an as effective therapy for individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

Pramlintide, a drug primarily used by diabetics, has been found to reduce amyloid-beta peptides - a significant component of dementia, Science Daily reports.

Two experimental models have shown the treatment can improve both memory and learning in patients with Alzheimer's.

The study also found that people with dementia have lower levels of amylin in their blood than individuals who don't have the disease.

Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine were responsible for the report, while it was published online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Wendy Qiu, senior author of the research, said: "Surprisingly, injections of amylin or pramlintide into the AD models reduced the amyloid burden as well as lowered the concentrations of amyloid-beta peptides, a major component of AD in the brain.

"There is broad agreement that more therapeutic avenues need to be explored in addition to targeting rmyloid-beta peptides for the treatment of AD."

She added that Pramlintide has proven its safety through its use in diabetes patients, while it can effectively cross barriers between the blood and brain.

Approximately five million people in the US suffer from Alzheimer's disease, while in the UK that figure is around 820,000.

As well as the personal costs, the UK economy spends about £23 billion a year on care and research of the disease. 

In the US, over $100 billion is spent on dementia patients, the total of which will rise to around 16 million by the year 2050 - providing there are no major breakthroughs in therapies.

Scientists claim that it is a difficult disease to understand and treat because most drugs cannot penetrate the brain, while it can take between ten and 15 years to develop a treatment, prove it works and measure its safety.

Find out more about Alzheimer's disease care at Barchester homes.