A diabetes drug could hold promise in treating Alzheimer's after scientists found it significantly reversed memory loss. Triple receptor drugs were developed to treat type 2 diabetes and were tested on mice with severe nerve cell degeneration.
Experts found that the drug could improve learning and memory formation and also protect nerve cell functioning. It also reduced Alzheimer's-linked brain plaques, and slowed the rate of cell loss.
According to professor Christian Holscher, of Lancaster University, his team's research held clear promise of being developed into a treatment.
''Clinical studies with an older version of this drug type already showed very promising results in people with Alzheimer's or with mood disorders," The Sun reported.
''Further tests and comparisons with other drugs are needed to evaluate if this drug is superior.''
A number of studies have suggested that adults with type 2 diabetes ran a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's.
According to independent academics, a reduction in nerve-cell-killing protein molecules was particularly interesting and this could be another avenue in the search for an elusive drug to combat dementia.
This latest study, published in the journal Brain Research, combined three different drugs for type 2 diabetes, acting on biological pathways that could also have an impact on dementia.
The three drugs GLP-1, GIP and glucagon, which, like insulin protect against neurological deterioration, were tested in mice with genetic mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease.
Following two months of daily injections the mice demonstrated significant improvement in performance in a maze designed to test memory.
Treated mice also had lower levels of proteins which clump together and form plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, that affect the ability of nerve cells to communicate and cause them to die.
The study further showed that the mice lost nerve cells to the disease at a slower rate and had lower levels of nerve inflammation.
The study concludes that the triple treatment ''holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease''.