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Alzheimer’s disease

Patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, and now researchers in Sweden may have discovered the molecular link that explains the association.

The research focused on amyloidosis -- the process by which misfolded amyloid proteins form insoluble fibril deposits -- which occurs in a host of diseases, including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's.

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In two cases of progressing dementia, PET imaging with amyloid and tau tracers helped to clarify the diagnosis by ruling out Alzheimer's disease, researchers suggested. This case series highlights two new PET tracers with higher specificity for tau protein and beta-amyloid plaque, allowing researchers to distinguish between traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer's dementia. More rigorous studies are necessary, particularly comparing the PET results to postmortem diagnosis (the gold standard).

Older people who have relied on a class of drugs called benzodiazepines to reduce anxiety or induce sleep are at higher risk of going on to develop Alzheimer's disease, new research finds, with those whose use of the medications is most intensive almost twice as likely to develop the mind-robbing disorder.

The amyloid plaque-busting drug crenezumab for Alzheimer's disease failed to meet its primary endpoints in a phase II trial, but -- as was the case with another similar drug -- the drug did show promise in a subgroup with mild symptoms.

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the "turning point" in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.

But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases.