Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Insulin Problems May Signal Alzheimer's

Older men who with type 2 diabetes are at more risk of developing Alzheimer's disease as they age. Glucose may deposit in the brain damaging the large and small vessels there. That damage can lead to Alzheimer's.
Fifty-year-old men with impaired insulin secretion and glucose tolerance demonstrated an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life, according to a new study.

This study, published in Neurology comes on the heels of a similar project that identified that diabetics with the gene protein APO 4 are more likely to experience dementia or Alzheimer’s as they age than non-type 2 diabetics with the trait. That study, published in the Archives of Neurology proposes too much glucose to the brain may cause deposits to form and damage both large and small vessels of the organ. Diabetes has long been suspect in cerebral vascular disease and dementia. Narrowing vessels impair the passage of proteins vital to the brain’s functional cognitive abilities.

In the most recent study, researchers concluded there is a link between poor insulin secretion in mid-life and Alzheimer’s. While Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, not all dementia is Alzheimer’s. Dementia is defined as having two or more problems with brain functions like cognitive ability and memory, or speech, etc. It is actually a group of disorders. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder that eventually robs individuals of memory and ability to function, ultimately leading to death. It generally begins after age 60. Not all memory loss is dementia either.

Finally, these studies only analyzed male type 2 diabetics, and only those who developed diabetes around the age of 50. The implications may not apply to all diabetics. There are differences between type 1 and type 2. Surely the proposal about hyperglycemic conditions having the potential of impairing brain function may apply to both. The rest remains to be seen with more studies and time.

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