Insulin might become Alzheimer's treatment

EVANSTON, Ill., Feb. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. medical researchers say they've determined the use of insulin might slow or even prevent the damage and memory loss caused by Alzheimer's disease.

Northwestern University researchers said they found insulin might be able to shield memory-forming synapses from harm caused by toxic proteins produced by the disease.


The scientists say their discovery provides additional evidence that Alzheimer's could be due to a novel third form of diabetes.

"Therapeutics designed to increase insulin sensitivity in the brain could provide new avenues for treating Alzheimer's disease," said senior author Professor William Klein of Northwestern's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. "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 research is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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