Published on: November 21, 2012
by Sean Patterson for WebProNews:
A new study shows that a drug used to treat insulin resistance in diabetics could improve cognitive performance in some people with Alzheimer’s disease.
In the study, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, the drug rosiglitazone was used on mice that have been genetically engineered to serve as models for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that treatment with the drug improved learning and memory in the mice, while it also normalized insulin resistance.
The researchers believe that the drug reduced the negative influence of Alzheimer’s on a brain-signaling molecule called extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). ERK becomes hyperactive in the brains of Alsheimer’s patients when they begin to exhibit mild cognitive impairment. This leads to improper synaptic transmission between neurons. The study shows that the drug activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARy) pathway in the brain, reducing ERK activity.
“Using this drug appears to restore the neuronal signaling required for proper cognitive function,” said Larry Denner, lead author of the study and a University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) professor. “It gives us an opportunity to test several FDA-approved drugs to normalize insulin resistance in Alzheimer’s patients and possibly also enhance memory, and it also gives us a remarkable tool to use in animal models to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie cognitive issues in Alzheimer’s.”
The new research was a joint UTMB effort by animal cognitive neuroscientists, biochemists, molecular biologists, mass spectrometrists, statisticians, and bioinformaticists.
“We were extraordinarily lucky to have this diverse group of experts right here on our campus at UTMB that could coalesce to bring such different ways of thinking to bear on a common problem,” said Denner. “It was quite a challenge to get all of these experts communicating in a common scientific language. But now that we have this team working, we can move on to even more detailed and difficult questions.”
Older people who report greater levels of social engagement have more robust gray matter in regions of the brain relevant in dementia, according to new research led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of...
In a new study, University of Nebraska–Lincoln sociologist Marc A. Garcia explored how educational attainment can benefit cognitive health in later life, and whether there are differences in its benefits among minorities. Garcia and his co-authors...
A genetic variation in some people may be associated with cognitive decline that can’t be explained by deposits of two key proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid β and tau, according to a study...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.