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Insulin Resistance Increases Risk of Alzheimer’s

Rising numbers of people who are resistant to insulin or who have Type 2 diabetes may also have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease according to a new study…

The study of 135 people from Hisayama in Fukuoka, Japan, found that protein that clumps in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease was present in higher amounts in people who were insulin resistant. These clumps, called plaques, develop many years before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear and only 16% of the people in this study had developed dementia symptoms at the time of death.

Plaques were found in 72 percent of people with insulin resistance and 62 percent of people with no indication of insulin resistance. However, the study did not find a link between diabetes and tangles in the brain. Research has previously linked diabetes with the risk of dementia but this study is interesting as the results include insulin resistance and have been adjusted to take other risk factors into account.

“An unhealthy diet or piling on the pounds can increase the risk of becoming insulin resistant. This can lead to a range of health problems, including diabetes Type 2 but now this new study suggests that it could also increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. The study is interesting because of the unique level of information it gives. It will hopefully enhance our understanding of Alzheimer’s and could help inform work on new treatments.”

“The big message from this study is that Alzheimer’s changes can begin many years before symptoms appear so the time to reduce your risk of dementia is now. The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is eating a balanced diet, keep a healthy weight and get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.”

T. Matsuzaki, MD et al. Insulin Resistance, Type 2 Diabetes Linked to Plaques Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Published in August 25, 2010, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.