Some researchers are recognizing Alzheimer’s disease as a complication of diabetes.
They have discovered that insulin shields the brain from toxic proteins associated with
Alzheimer’s disease. They theorize that Alzheimer’s may be a third form of diabetes.
Williams Klein of Northwestern University said of his study “Our results demonstrate that
bolstering insulin signaling can protect neurons from harm”. The findings support the
idea that Alzheimer’s could be a “diabetes of the brain”. In Type 1 diabetes the
pancreas doesn’t make insulin, and Type 2 inhibits insulin receptors due to tissue
problems; Type 3 diabetes is where insulin receptor problems are localized in the brain.
The brain is more vulnerable to toxins which cause Alzheimer’s with age. He said “As
you get older, some individuals start to have less effective insulin signaling, including
in the brain.”
Sticky plaques of amyloid beta proteins are typical of Alzheimer’s, which cause memory
loss, confusion, and eventually death. Recent studies suggest that short strands of the
protein attack memory-forming brain cells; when researchers treated rat nerve cells
with insulin, it blocked these attacks.
Several studies have indicated that diabetics are more prone to developing Alzheimer’s
disease; it has been reported that diabetics who take insulin in addition to a diabetes
drug run a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who take insulin alone.
These findings also suggest that preventative measures, such as a healthy diet and
exercise, are important in avoiding diabetes as well as Alzheimer’s.
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