Scientists Accidentally Discover a Breakthrough Treatment for Alzheimer's

Scientists find that a drug meant for another illness may significantly help Alzheimer's patients.


Scientists found a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease by testing an existing drug used for another illness. Researchers from Lancaster University in the UK discovered that a drug developed for type 2 diabetes has "significantly reversed memory loss" in mice. 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and affects nearly 44 million people around the world, according to 2016 stats from Alzheimer’s Disease International. In the United States alone, 5.3 million people suffer from the illness. And these numbers are expected to keep rising. 

Professor Christian Holscher of Lancaster University, the lead researcher on the project, said the new treatment "holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.”

Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer's Society, said that there have been no new treatments in nearly 15 years and this kind of research is promising. 

"With no new treatments in nearly 15 years, we need to find new ways of tackling Alzheimer',” said Brown. ”It's imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. This approach to research could make it much quicker to get promising new drugs to the people who need them."

The so-called “triple receptor drug” used by the scientists acts in multiple ways in order to protect the brain from degeneration. The transgenic mice that were treated in the study had the same mutated genes that cause Alzheimer's in humans. After treatment, the mice underwent a maze test which found that their learning and memory formation were markedly improved. The mice also exhibited increased levels of brain growth factors which shield nerve cell functioning. They also had less chronic inflammation, slower rate of nerve cell loss and showed a reduced amount of amyloid plaques in their brains - a build-up of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s. 

"Here we show that a novel triple receptor drug shows promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's but further dose-response tests and direct comparisons with other drugs have to be conducted in order to evaluate if this new drugs is superior to previous ones," said Professor Holscher.

Check out this video from Lancaster University that explains their accomplishment:

You can read the study here, published in Brain Research.

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

Sponsored
  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less