Diabetes: New Links to Alzheimer's
Researchers Say Diabetes Drugs Could Help Treat Alzheimer's Disease
WebMD News Archive
Tight Control of Blood Sugar May Also Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's
Another new study presented here showed that people who already have type 2
diabetes have an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers, including Rachel A. Whitmer, PhD, of Kaiser Permanente's division
of research in Oakland, Calif., report that people with diabetes who had very
poor blood sugar control had the greatest risk, but "effective blood sugar
control may lower risk of another diabetes-associated complication --
dementia," they conclude in a written statement.
More good news is that a class of drugs commonly used to treat diabetes
called thiazolidinediones may also influence inflammation and other brain cell
processes that may be related to Alzheimer's disease. Drugs in this class
include Avandia and Actos and they help insulin work better in the muscle and
liver to use blood sugar and also reduce sugar production in the liver.
Donald Miller, ScD from Boston University School of Public Health and
colleagues report that people with diabetes treated with these medications had
lower rates of Alzheimer's disease than counterparts taking insulin. In fact,
there were almost 20% fewer new cases of Alzheimer's among people taking
thiazolidinediones compared with people who took insulin. Similar results were
found in a separate comparison between thiazolidinediones users and people
starting Glucophage, another drug used to treat diabetes.