Here’s another study that may unlock a way to combat brain injury and ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers in Toronto has found that metformin, a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes, can spur stem cells to make new brain cells, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The research was conducted by scientists at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and was published last Thursday online in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
In the study researchers put metformin in a lab dish with stem cells from mice brains, and then did the same experiment with lab-generated human brain stem cells, according to the Vancouver Sun. In both instances, new brain cells were produced.
In the next stage of the research, scientists used the diabetes drug on live lab mice, given them daily doses for two to three weeks. Those mice experienced increased brain cell growth and did better in learning and memory tests then other mice, the Vancouver Sun reported.
Researchers already see the potential for using metformin to prompt stem cells to produce normal neurons, which could help ward off neurodegenerative ailments such as Alzheimer’s, according to the newspaper.
In Toronto, scientists are trying to put together a pilot study involving metformin. The plan is to use the drug in younger patients with brain damage, to see if the medication can “increase brain cell mass,” the Vancouver Sun reported.