‘Hypoglycaemic events can accelerate cognitive decline’ in Alzheimer’s patients

Technology used to help diabetics is being deployed to help patients with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. According the study conducted by the Regenstrief Institute, older adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of a condition known as hypoglycaemia. This occurs when blood sugar in the body is too low. As a result, they are working on technology to prevent this.

Talking about the research, Dr April Savoy said: “Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease, and hypoglycaemic events can accelerate cognitive decline.

“That’s why we are focusing on detection of low blood sugar in these older adults with both Alzheimer’s and diabetes.”

As well as potentially mitigating the spread of Alzheimer’s, the new technology will help patients who struggle to remember to manage their blood sugar levels.

The study in question intends to enrol 75 pairs of patients who have diabetes and Alzheimer’s as part of the study.

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Dr Savoy said: “We hope to increase awareness and empower patients and caregivers to make individualised, patient-focused decisions about effective treatment options.

“Our goal is to prevent hypoglycaemia for the growing population of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.”
For those with diabetes, hypoglycaemia can be a problematic condition.

Also known as a hypo, it can cause a range of symptoms such as:
• Sweating
• Feeling tired
• Dizziness
• Feeling hungry
• Tingling lips
• Feeling shaky or trembling
• Heart palpitations
• Becoming easily irritated
• Turning pale.

If left untreated, the NHS say a hypo can lead to someone with diabetes “collapsing or passing out”.


While hypos are a familiar risk for diabetics, what is unfamiliar in the world of Alzheimer’s and dementia research is positive developments in treatment.

Since the earliest forms of dementia were discovered, they have proved a thorn in the side of researchers and scientists as study after study provided one brick wall after another in the hunt for an effective treatment.

Now, however, a new treatment has been described as a potential breakthrough.

Known as lecanemab, the treatment has been found to slow cognitive decline by 27 percent in patients who received the drug once every two weeks for 18 months.

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Professor Sir John Hardy said on the day the results were released: “Today marks a truly exciting day for dementia research.

“I’m incredibly proud of how far we’ve come since our Alzheimer’s Society-funded research in 1989.

“A drug like lecanemab becoming available on the NHS would be a massive triumph, but challenges remain around getting drugs to the right people at the right time – we need changes in our health system’s infrastructure to make sure we’re ready.”

Sir John said it marked the “beginning of the end” for Alzheimer’s.

He added: “These results convincingly demonstrate, for the first time, the link between removing amyloid and slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The first step is the hardest, and we now know exactly what we need to do to develop effective drugs.”

These results mark the most significant moment in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease in a generation.

The hope is that further developments will harness greater improvements in patients and give them and their loved ones more time with one another.

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