Study Finds Some Diabetic Drugs Can Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer
A new study has found that people taking certain drugs to lower blood sugar for type 2 diabetes had less amyloid in the brain, a biomarker of Alzheimer's disease. The study also found people taking these drugs, called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, showed slower cognitive decline than people in the other two groups.

The study involved 282 people with an average age of 76 who were followed up to six years. All had been diagnosed with either pre-clinical, early or probable Alzheimer's disease. Of the group, 70 people had diabetes and were being treated with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, 71 had diabetes but were not being treated with the drugs and 141 did not have diabetes.

Those without diabetes were matched to those with diabetes for age, sex, and education levels. All had similar scores on cognitive tests at the start of the study. Participants had brain scans to measure the amount of amyloid in the brain. Researchers found that people with diabetes who took the drugs had lower average amounts of amyloid plaques in the brain compared to people with diabetes who did not take the drugs and compared to people who did not have diabetes.

All participants took a common thinking and memory test called the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) on average, every 12 months for 2.5 years. Questions included asking a person to count backwards from 100 by sevens or copying a picture on a piece of paper. Scores on the test ranged from zero to 30.

Researchers found that people with diabetes who took the drugs had an average annual decline of 0.87 points on their MMSE score, while people with diabetes who did not take the drugs had an average annual decline of 1.65 points. People without diabetes scored an average annual decline of 1.48 points.

When researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect test scores, they found that the scores of the people taking the drug declined by 0.77 points per year more slowly than the people who did not take the drug. "Our results showing less amyloid in the brains of people taking these medications and less cognitive decline, when compared to people without diabetes raises the possibility that these medications may also be beneficial for people without diabetes who have thinking and memory problems," said Lee.

Source:
https://n.neurology.org/content/early/2021/08/11/WNL.0000000000012534
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