Scientists Just Found an Alzheimer’s Treatment—by Accident

They were working on a diabetes treatment and discovered something completely different.

Health care researchers working in life science laboratory. Young female research scientist and senior male supervisor preparing and analyzing microscope slides in research lab.Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock
Life’s greatest moments often happen when they’re least expected. For the average person, that may be when your friends throw you a surprise party or someone else covers your dinner bill.

This has also proven to be true in the realms of science and medicine, just like these accidental inventions that changed the world. Now, we can add another monumental find to this list: a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at Lancaster University were studying a new medication called a triple receptor drug that was created to treat type 2 diabetes when they realized that it also “significantly reverses memory loss.” The drug has only been used on mice so far, but after taking it, the animals exhibited improved learning and memory formation in a maze test. Scientists also noticed a decrease in inflammation and amyloid plaques in the brain that has been linked to Alzheimer’s, as well as a slower rate of nerve cell loss.

Lead researcher Professor Christian Holscher said in a press release that this treatment “holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Previous studies have suggested that type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease because it can damage blood vessels and potentially reduce or block blood flow to the brain. Additionally, insulin desensitization can result from both conditions.

“With no new treatments in nearly 15 years, we need to find new ways of tackling Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, said in a press release. “This approach to research could make it much quicker to get promising new drugs to the people who need them.”

A drug that can treat two of the world’s most prominent diseases? Sounds like a medical miracle to us. But until this medication hits the market, be sure you’re practicing these everyday habits that reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.

[Source: CBS New York]

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