Wednesday September 19, 2018

Alzheimer’s experimental drug shows new hope in treatment

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New York: An experimental drug has been found to protect Alzheimer’s-inflicted mice from memory deterioration, despite a high-glycemic-index (GI) diet meant to boost blood sugar levels.

The experimental drug from the US-based Eli Lilly and Company mimics the hunger-signalling hormone ghrelin.

“The present results suggest that ghrelin might improve cognition in Alzheimer’s disease via a central nervous system mechanism involving insulin signalling,” authors of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports wrote.

“With chronic diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s, you need to do a long-term study,” said examiner Inga Kadish, assistant professor at University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham.

“So we did an experiment with the worst-case scenario, a high GI diet. Alzheimer’s disease has 10 or 20 risk factors and some of the strongest risk factors are diabetes or metabolic syndrome.”

In contrast to short-term administration of the ghrelin agonista drug – which impairs insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, which are signs of metabolic syndrome and diabetes – the researchers found that the long-term ghrelin agonist treatment did not impair insulin signalling and glucose tolerance in Alzheimer’s disease mice fed with a high GI diet.

In the study, the Alzheimer’s disease-model mice showed a deterioration in spatial learning as they turned older — in other words, they got lost when trying to swim to a platform hidden just beneath the water surface that they previously were trained to find in a four-foot-wide pool.

The test mice fed with the ghrelin agonist and the high-GI diet showed long-term cognitive enhancement in this water maze test as compared to the mice fed with a normal diet or high-GI diet only.

The test mice also showed more activity, reduced body weight and fat mass. They also showed a beneficial impact of the long-term ghrelin agonist treatment on insulin signalling pathways in hippocampal brain tissue.

Alzheimer’s patients show significant shrinkage of the hippocampus, a part of the brain cortex that has a key role in forming new memories. (IANS)

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Reducing Alzheimer’s stigma crucial for prevention research

Almost half expected the person's health insurance would be limited due to data in the medical record (47 percent), a brain imaging result (46 percent) or genetic test result (45 percent)

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A lady suffering from Alzheimer's. Flickr
  • Alzheimer’s is a serious disease
  • To prevent it, it is important to remove the stigma attached to it
  • It was found in a recent survey

Reducing stigma attributed to Alzheimer’s disease is vital for prevention research, a new study suggests, adding that the stigma associated with the disease may be an obstacle for individuals to seek information about their risk of developing it.

The survey focused on what beliefs, attitudes and expectations are most often associated with the disease. “We found that concerns about discrimination and overly harsh judgments about the severity of symptoms were most prevalent,” said co-author of the study, Shana Stites from the University of Pennsylvania. “By understanding what the biggest concerns are about the disease, we can help develop programmes and policies to reduce the stigma about Alzheimer’s disease,” Stites added.

Diabetes drug could now treat Alzheimer's disease
To treat Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to remove stigma attached to it. IANS

For the study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, a random sample of 317 adults was asked to react to a fictional description of a person with mild stage Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

The study asked respondents to read a vignette and then complete the survey. Three different assessments were presented for the fictional person’s condition. Respondents were told the person’s condition would worsen, improve or remain unchanged. Over half of the respondents (55 percent) expected the person with mild cognitive impairment or dementia due to Alzheimer’s to be discriminated against by employers and to be excluded from medical decision-making.

Also Read: Beetroot compound may prevent Alzheimer’s

Almost half expected the person’s health insurance would be limited due to data in the medical record (47 percent), a brain imaging result (46 percent) or genetic test result (45 percent). Those numbers increased when the participants were informed that the condition of the person with Alzheimer’s would worsen over time, the researcher said. IANS

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