Diabetes Drug May Hold Promise For Alzheimer’s, Research Finds

Diabetes drug metformin is currently used to keep the common blood sugar ailment in check, but research reveals that the medication may also one day be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The diabetes drug metformin has in the past been linked to possible cancer benefits, but a new study out of Canada involving mice showed promise in treating patients with Alzheimer’s disease in addition to the drug’s known benefits — still, further study is needed on the novel application.

Study researcher Freda Miller spoke about the diabetes drug and the new findings after the study was published, explaining that metformin was originally designed to work on pathways in the liver to mitigate symptoms of diabetes.

According to Miller, metformin may also have the same effect in pathways in the brain, expanding on findings from a diabetes study a few years back. Fox News explains that researchers initially came to the conclusion that the effects observed in the original study were to do with the condition, but later determined metformin, not diabetes, was responsible for the observed changes:

“A 2008 study found that patients with both diabetes and Alzheimer’s who began taking metformin experienced improvements in their Alzheimer’s symptoms after starting on the drug.”

pancreatic cancer mice

“It was thought that treating the patients’ diabetes had effects on the body that helped improve their Alzheimer’s, but the new study suggests the change in brain function was due to the drug itself, the researchers said.”

Further study is required to determine if the diabetes drug metformin could help not only Alzheimer’s disease patients, but also those suffering from brain injury or illnesses such as Huntington’s disease.