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Diabetes drug may help Alzheimer's patients

3rd May 2006

Scientists are set to investigate whether a drug used for diabetes sufferers could slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease, according to the Associated Press.

Researchers from GlaxoSmithKline are set to begin phase III tests to see if Avandia could protect people with Alzheimer's from developing more aggressive forms of the disease.

A link between Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's has long been suspected, with many believing that changes that occur in the use of sugar by brain cells in diabetic patients can prompt the onset of the disease.

However, the use of diabetic drugs on Alzheimer's patients is a new line of enquiry and could have a significant impact on sufferers, according to Glaxo's Allen Roses.

He wrote in a recent edition of Alzheimer's & Dementia that: "One thing we can do is, possibly, slow down the onset of the disease showing up", before cautioning: "it's a hopeful experiment that's in progress".

Diabetics in their 60s and 70s are thought to have more than double the risk of developing Alzheimer's than non-diabetics, according to Suzanne Craft from the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, which led the initial Avianda tests.