Scientists May Have Found a Potential Alzheimer’s Cure in a Surprising Place

Alzheimer’s, currently the leading cause of dementia, plagues nearly 5.5 million Americans. The disease is often associated with aging, however, nearly 200,000 of those Americans are the victims of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Researchers are working tirelessly to identify a cure for the disease. The research we highlight today has found a potential cure by looking in an unexpected place.

1. A lot of studies have been failing lately, but this one looks hopeful

scientist loads liquid sample into test tube

Researchers have done a lot of work to find out a way to prevent Alzheimer’s. | iStock.com/anyaivanova

Alzheimer’s currently affects more than 5 million Americans. This number is expected to jump to 13.8 million by 2050.

According to Business Insider, 2017 has been a particularly tough year for “Alzheimer’s failures.” Last February, Lundbeck pharmaceutical company discontinued two trials, Merck discontinued a study, and Accera failed in a late-stage trial. In September, an Axovant trial — the last of those with anticipated major results for 2017 — failed as well.

Next: One study saw some hope

2. It turns out Type 2 diabetes is a proven risk factor for Alzheimer’s

Male Diabetic Checking Blood Sugar

Type 2 diabetes is linked to Alzheimer’s. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Type 2 diabetes is a proven risk factor for Alzheimer’s, so scientists at Lancaster University began to explore how various aspects of diabetes influence memory loss. Previous studies have shown that the drug, which has anti-diabetic properties, also shows promising effects in animal models 0f Alzheimer’s.

Next: The neuroscientist looked into diabetes drugs.

3. The diabetes drugs showed positive results — on mice

Mice

Scientists conducted tests on mice. | China Photos/Getty Images

The scientists conducted their study on mice and looked into the experimental drug GLP-1. GLP-1 is used to better control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Recognizable brand names include Victoza, Byetta, and Bydureon.

The new study did more than just research GLP-1. It went after three diabetes-related targets and the scientists found that the drug “significantly reversed the memory deficit” in the mice who were administered the drug.

Next: They found hope from the study.

4. The drugs reduced dementia risk

doctor and Zika

Scientists studied how the receptors would affect the mice. | LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images

The scientists studied the effects of the triple receptor agonist (TA) on the mice. They injected a controlled amount of the TA once daily over the course of two months in some of the mice who showed the animal comparison of Alzheimer’s.

Their findings, which we’ll cover next, showed that “novel TAs are a promising lead for the design of future treatment strategies in AD [Alzheimer’s],” according to the study.

Next: The surprising place researchers found a possible cure.

5. Doctors think this could be a revolutionary step in squashing AD

MRI brain scan

It is extremely important to find new ways to treat Alzheimer’s. | iStock.com/Movus

Doug Brown, M.D., director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, stressed the importance of finding new ways to tackle Alzheimer’s. “It’s imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia,” he said.

The results have yet to be tested on humans. However, many doctors remain optimistic that drugs prescribed to diabetes patients could treat Alzheimer’s patients. The results themselves showed that treating the mice with TA “significantly reversed the memory deficit.”

Next: All this aside, we’re still waiting on a full cure.

6. There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s

brain and label to indicate Alzheimer's disease

Sorry, but there’s still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. | iStock.com

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s despite decades of extensive research. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the puzzling cognitive disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases.

Certain treatments aid the sleep and behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. There are also multiple medications that patients can take to prevent memory loss as well as reduce dementia risk.

Next: Everyone can follow healthy steps to prevent AD.

7. Eat more raw fruits and veggies

Glasses with fresh vegetable juices

Fresh vegetable juices can help you ward off dementia. | iStock.com/monticelllo

Similar to the healthy habits we follow to help our body as it ages, there are healthy habits we can follow (and unhealthy ones we can avoid) to help ward off dementia later in life. While Alzheimer’s is a genetic disease and isn’t entirely preventable, there are a few scientifically proven ways you can improve your brain health.

For example, a Vanderbilt University study found that participants could cut their risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease by up to 76% by drinking raw fruit and veggie juices more than three times a week.

Follow The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!