Dementia

02 September 2010

Insulin resistance may cause Alzheimer plaques

People with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease, researchers in Japan reported on Thursday.

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - People with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease, researchers in Japan reported on Thursday.The study involved 135 elderly participants in the town of Hisayama, Fukuoka prefecture, who had their blood glucose levels checked several times at the start of the study. They were then monitored for signs of Alzheimer's disease for 10 to 15 years.After they died, researchers conducted autopsies on their brains and found plaques, particularly in those who had high blood sugar levels while they were alive."It is possible that adequate control of diabetes in midlife may contribute to ... prevention of Alzheimer's disease," wrote lead researcher Dr. Kensuke Sasaki at Kyushu University in Fukuoka in e-mail to Reuters.Twenty-one participants (16 percent) developed Alzheimer's disease before they died; all had plaques in their brains. But the autopsies also found plaques in 72 percent of patients with insulin resistance, a precursor to full-blown diabetes, and in 62 percent of those with no indication of insulin resistance, according to a report in the journal Neurology."The point is that insulin resistance may possibly accelerate plaque pathology (development)," Sasaki wrote.A few studies in the past explored the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer's, but findings were inconsistent and it was never certain which was the cause and which the result.But this study has the longest observation period so far and the researchers said it was more likely that insulin resistance or diabetes resulted in Alzheimer's disease.

 

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