Associating Alzheimer's Disease with Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
Scientists are increasingly recognizing that, even though Alzheimer's disease is a brain disease, conditions that affect the rest of the body may also influence the pathways that may lead to it. As we've seen, a growing collection of research suggests that the risk of cognitive decline and AD may increase with vascular diseases such as heart disease and the related conditions of high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure. The metabolic disease called diabetes also affects the vascular system and is another area of intense interest among AD researchers. Epidemiological studies have shown that people with diabetes have an increased risk of cognitive problems, including MCI and AD, as they age. This has inspired a number of experimental studies exploring the possible connections between diabetes and AD.
Dr. Suzanne Craft, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound and the University of Washington School of Medicine and a leading researcher in this area, hypothesizes that insulin resistance, a condition that precedes and characterizes type 2 diabetes, plays a significant role in the AD process. "For a long time, this idea was out of the mainstream," she observed. Today, insulin resistance is being studied as a possible pathway to AD.
Insulin resistance is a key component of metabolic syndrome, a group of vascular and metabolic abnormalities, which is associated with accelerated decline in cognitive abilities during aging. The elements of metabolic syndrome include obesity (especially around the waist), high triglyceride levels, low HDL ("good" blood cholesterol) levels, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. Epidemiological studies suggest that each of these vascular and metabolic abnormalities is associated with elevated risk of AD.
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Excerpted from THE ALZHEIMER'S PROJECT: MOMENTUM IN SCIENCE, published by Public Affairs, www.publicaffairsbooks.com.
In This Section
- Vascular Disease
- Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
- Connecting Alzheimer's Disease to Vascular Disease
- Vascular Injury
- Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
- The Problem of Cholesterol
- What's Good for the Heart is Good for the Brain
- Atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's Disease
- Associating Alzheimer's Disease with Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
- Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
- Insulin in the Brain
Momentum in Science: The Supplementary Series
- Understanding and Attacking Alzheimer's 12 min
- How Far We Have Come in Alzheimer's Research 15 min
- Identifying Mild Cognitive Impairment 20 min
- The Role of Genetics in Alzheimer's 12 min
- Advances in Brain Imaging 11 min
- Looking Into the Future of Alzheimer's 6 min
- The Connection Between Insulin and Alzheimer's 21 min
- Inflammation, the Immune System, and Alzheimer's 29 min
- The Benefit of Diet and Exercise in Alzheimer's 16 min
- Cognitive Reserve: What the Religious Orders Study is Revealing about Alzheimer's 20 min
- Searching for an Alzheimer's Cure: The Story of Flurizan 30 min
- The Pulse of Drug Development 15 min
- The DeMoe Family: Early-Onset Alzheimer's Genetics 25 min
- The Nanney/Felts Family: Late-Onset Alzheimer's Genetics 20 min
- The Quest for Biomarkers 17 min
Video: Inside the Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of Alzheimer's Disease
This 4-minute captioned video shows the progression of Alzheimer's disease in the brain.
Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour
The Brain Tour explains how the brain works and how Alzheimer's affects it.
Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery
This book explains what AD is, describes the main areas in which researchers are working, and highlights new approaches for helping families and friends care for people with AD.
- About The Scientists
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- Rapid advances in our knowledge about AD have led to the development of promising new drugs and treatment strategies. However, before these new strategies can be used in clinical practice, they must be shown to work in people. Advances in prevention and treatment are only possible thanks to volunteers who participate in clinical trials.
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