Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Insulin May Protect Against Alzheimer's

This article came to my attention this morning.
Insulin May Protect Against Alzheimer's from Health Day News 2/3/2009
Insulin may slow or prevent the memory loss caused by Alzheimer's disease, a new study says. Laboratory research led by a team from Northwestern University found that insulin acts as a shield that deflects the toxic proteins that attack the wiring in the brain responsible for forming memories.
"Therapeutics designed to increase insulin sensitivity in the brain could provide new avenues for treating Alzheimer's disease," William L. Klein, a researcher in Northwestern's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center and senior author of the study, said in a news release issued by the school. "Sensitivity to insulin can decline with aging, which presents a novel risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Our results demonstrate that bolstering insulin signaling can protect neurons from harm."
The findings also add to recent evidence that has some researchers considering Alzheimer's a form of diabetes. The report was published online Feb. 2 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the study, insulin and rosiglitazone (Avandia)-- an insulin-sensitizing drug used to treat type 2 diabetes -- offered protection to neurons taken from the hippocampus, one of the brain's crucial memory centers. It protected the neurons from amyloid beta-derived diffusible ligands, or ADDLs, which are proteins that are known to attach to and block memory-forming synapses, leading to memory loss.
ADDLs have been found to have a role in Alzheimer's.

"The discovery that anti-diabetic drugs shield synapses against ADDLs offers new hope for fighting memory loss in Alzheimer's disease," lead author Fernanda G. De Felice, a former visiting scientist in Klein's lab and an associate professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said in the same news release. The researchers had recently found, in related work, that ADDL caused insulin resistance in the neurons it binds to by stripping the insulin receptors.
Who knew! My husband has type two diabetes since his heart attack and by=pass surgery and takes Actoplus Met tab 15/850 MG twice a day for his diabetes. That medicine controls his glucose fairly well and may do more!


  1. More from

    "Fasudil, a drug used for a decade to safely treat people with vascular problems in the brain, appears to improve some learning and memory abilities in middle-aged rats, a new study says.

    "The findings, published in the February issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, give researchers hope of finding a way to combat the normal decrease in cognitive function experienced by humans as they age."

  2. This is good news. I hope it helps him.

  3. This is fascinating information about Alzheimer's. I brought my mother for testing but the doctor said her troubles are vascular and the Alzheimer's meds wouldn't help.

  4. What kind of a test did she have? The test needed a brain scan where the brain will have certain characteristics. Otherwise it is dementia of some variety. See one of my earliest posts.

    By the way, Terri, good to have you follow my blog and I certainly am enjoying your blog.