Let’s review some of the many links between metabolic disorders / diabetes and progressive cognitive decline. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease / AD may be up to 65% higher in people with diabetes. Chronic hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is identified as a risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia.
All this means that pre-diabetes / diabetes is a risk factor for cognitive impairment and faster cognitive decline. It applies to all types of dementia, that longer duration of diabetes is associated with higher risk for all types of dementia. In addition, it means faster progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s, as compared to people without diabetes.
Many studies indicate that insulin resistance in the brain can be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, which is now commonly called Type 3 diabetes. It causes the following cell structure changes that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease:
1. Neurofibrillary tangles, twisted fibers of tau-protein accumulating within the neurons.
2. Beta-amyloid plaque of misfolded protein that accumulate in the brain and stop communication between the neurons. Researchers have also found that similar amyloid plaques in beta-cells in people with type 2 diabetes can be the cause of death of insulin-producing beta cells.
According to an article in August 2012, “Diabetes of the Brain” by Erika Gebel, PhD and William Klein, Ph.D.-Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University:
“If insulin can not perform its work in the brain, learning and memory can be compromised, leading to Alzheimer’s disease.” Studies have shown that the brain in people with diabetes is insulin-resistant. Klein also stated that “insulin resistance in the brain is the same as insulin resistance in the body”.
“Amyloid beta is an exceptionally flexible and sticky protein and clumps under certain conditions quickly to form amyloid plaque. A similar process can take place in the pancreas cells that produce insulin and contribute to the development of diabetes (” Alzheimer’s pancreas “). “
Scientific research studies – Alzheimers and Diabetes:
Barbagallo M, Dominguez LG. Type 2 diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer’s disease. World J Diabetes. 2014;5:889-893. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4265876/
Arvanitakis Z, Wilson RS, Bienias JL, Evans DA, Bennett DA. Diabetes mellitus and risk of Alzheimer disease and decline in cognitive function. Arch Neurol. 2004;5:661-666. http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=785863
De la Monte SM, Wands JR. Alzheimer’s disease is type 3 diabetes: evidence reviewed.
J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2008;2:1101-1113. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769828/
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