Is Alzheimer’s Disease really a form of diabetes?

IAS News 19 June 2013 | 2 Comments

Did you know that keeping the weight off and exercising is a good way of staving off dementia? Were you also aware that people who suffer from diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from alzheimer’s in later life? Well it seems that things may go further than that, with suggestions being made the actually Alzheimer’s disease is a form of diabetes – perhaps type 3 is diabetes of the brain. An article by Suzanne de la Monte, who wrote in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, pointed out the link between insulin and Alzheimer’s disease – demonstrating that the disease is likely a neuroendocrine disorder, or another type of diabetes, due to its links to abnormalities in insulin signaling.
By examining 45 brains of people who had passed away, de la Monte found that insulin receptors were 80% lower than in a normal brain. In healthy brains insulin is what helps to create acetylcholine, and the lack of this neurotransmitter is considered a key marker of Alzheimer’s disease.
Previous studies de de la Monte in animals have supported this suggestion – although others have said that this is just one of several possible causes – including the underlying obvious one of genetics. Not all of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s are diabetic, and not all have insulin issues.
What with there currently being no cure for Alzheimer’s the finding that it could be considered as a form of diabetes may offer some hope. Perhaps by targeting the insulin resistance, more of the effects could be reversed. There have been a couple of tests carried out when insulin delivered by nasal spray has shown to help improve attention and performance on memory tests. The limited tests that have been done so far will be extended in the coming months by trials on 240 people who are already showing some signs of suffering from dementia.
By having brains that have evolved over the years to crave high fat and sugar, then the only medical solution may be to block this craving completely – however this seems to be avoiding the problemrather than tackling it in the way it obviously needs to! With nearly 26 million diabetics in the country, helping them to avoid the under solvable Alzheimer’s seems to be on the top of the list at the moment.

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2 Responses on “Is Alzheimer’s Disease really a form of diabetes?”

  1. Melanie says:

    I’m thinking that the link could be that they may both be autoimmune diseases. And with autoimmune issues, if you have one, you may have another — not an uncommon thing to see.

  2. Jenny says:

    This has been a very interesting article to read. My father was diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago and now he has memory issues. Interesting connection.

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