According to a recent scientific research, drugs meant for Type II diabetes could prove to be a boon for those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. The research published in the journal Brain Research is being funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, and conducted by researchers from the University of Ulster, UK.
Activation of the GLP-1 protein, was the link that drew up the connection between Alzheimer and diabetes.
The name of the experimental drug is (Val8)GLP-1, and it is the protein component GLP-1, within it which control’s the blood sugar levels in the body. When this experimental drug was used, it was observed that, there were no side effects and the drug could easily cross the blood-brain barrier.
One of the most amazing observations is the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, when the experimental drug (Val8)GLP-1 is used. Now, the hippocampus is a very vital area, since it is in this region of the brain that seamless co-ordination of short-term memory to long-memory happens. In fact, when the effect of GLP-1 is blocked, it was observed that the learning and memory ability also reduced considerably.
There is a lot of evidence from epidemiological studies that diabetes is a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been shown that insulin signaling in the brains of Alzheimer patients is impaired. That has serious repercussions, since insulin is a growth factor. Without this signal, cells do not function so well and do not divide as often. The drug effects of (Val8)GLP-1 are manifold. Neurons are protected from oxidative stress, and synapses are protected from being attacked by amyloid. Synapses remain functional and memory and cognition is preserved. The drug also reduces the chronic inflammation response in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson mouse models, which is an important factor in both diseases.
Clinical trails are yet to begin for the (Val8)GLP-1 drug. But, with the latest positive results with this experimental drug, hopes are buoyed that it would be a matter of time before the much needed funding for the trials comes in.
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