New research has found that there are shared biological processes in both diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The report studied genetically engineered mice with BACE1, an enzyme which already has a proven link to Alzheimer’s, and also is suggested to be linked to Type 2 Diabetes.
While many news outlets in the United Kingdom have reported that medications used for diabetes in the regulation of glucose could stop the effects of dementia or treat Alzheimer’s outright, the National Health Services (NHS) in the US is warning the public against the hype.
The NHS stated that the research looked at the ways in which both diseases develop, but are not sure whether or not this discovery will even translate to humans. The study has also not tested the effects of diabetes drugs on Alzheimer’s patients. Therefore, they caution that those with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s not to get too excited about the prospect just yet.
However, the research has confirmed previous studies that link Alzheimer’s and diabetes, stating that those with dementia may be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes after the onset of their disease.
In the study, scientists bread mice to produce an enzyme known as BACE1, which is strongly linked to an individual producing amyloid protein in the brain, a hallmark indication of Alzheimer’s. The genetically modified mice were then measured against a control group and were monitored for signs of diabetes.
The mice with the BACE1 enzyme were found to have trouble controlling their glucose, which is majorly indicative of diabetes. The mice with the enzyme also began to show signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s at four to six months of age.
Following the results of the study, researchers will use diabetes medication on Alzheimer’s patients in the early stages of the disease. This testing, which is currently in progress, will help determine whether or not the test on mice is translatable to humans and whether or not certain medication can ease the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s.
The research performed was carried out at the University of Aberdeen and the University of the Highlands and Islands and funded by a variety of British organizations with a vested interest in curing and reversing the effects Alzheimer’s.