High blood sugar levels have been linked with an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
High blood sugar and associated insulin resistance were linked in the study with the lower memory test performance with adults in their late middle age that were part of the study.
“The findings are interesting because people with diabetes are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, but we are only now learning why they may be at increased risk,”
stated Barbara Bendlin, lead author of the paper detailing the findings and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The brain uses glucose in the blood to function. Insulin resistance, characteristic of type 2 diabetes alters this process, which may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. If medics could find a way to meddle with insulin resistance, this would lower the risk of Alzheimer’s according to the study.
Insulin resistance is a marker of a sedentary lifestyle, coupled with a poor diet and typically obesity as well. Not surprisingly, 29.1 million U.S. citizens are diagnosed with diabetes, while another 50 percent of U.S. adults over 64 years old are diagnosed with prediabetes.
Certainly, the study does not draw definitive conclusions. If one person is to be diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, it is not automatically implied that they would develop Alzheimer’s as well.
Indeed, what the study indicates is that insulin resistance may negatively affect mental functioning in some patients and altering the use of glucose in the brain in the specific areas associated with the neurodegenerative disease.
The study was conducted on 150 U.S. adults. The average age in the group was 61. All patients underwent PET brain scans and were tested for insulin resistance.
Statistically, of the 150 participants in the study, two thirds reported having one parent that had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Another 40 percent were reported to have the gene mutation specific for the increased risk of developing Alzheimer;s. And 5 percent were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The participants were also given memory tests. Lower performance was linked to lower glucose metabolism as a result of insulin resistance in the left medial lobe.
The findings are reported in the JAMA Neurology journal.
Photo Credits hypescience.com
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