New research claims that a drug commonly used in the treatment of type II diabetes can help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
A paper published on Monday, 22 November, 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) found that metformin can reduce the amount of the abnormal tau protein in the brains of mice. Healthy nerve cells produce tau but in Alzheimer's, the abnormal form is produced which does not function correctly.
Alzheimer's Society comment:
'Previous research has suggested that metformin reduces the risk of dementia in diabetic people, and this study provides some understanding of why this might be. The fact that the drug is safe for humans means it could potentially be tested more quickly than a completely new drug. However, further research is needed to fully understand the link between diabetes and Alzheimer's.
'A million more people are set to develop dementia in the next 10 years. It is important that people maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce their risk and that greater investment in dementia research is made to further our understanding of the condition.'
Dr Anne Corbett
Research Communications Manager