Type 3 Diabetes

Type 3 diabetes is a term for insulin resistance in the brain
Type 3 diabetes is a term for insulin resistance in the brain

Type 3 diabetes is a title that has been proposed for Alzheimer's disease which results from resistance to insulin in the brain.

Studies carried out by the US Brown Medical School research team identified the possibility of a new form of diabetes after finding that insulin is produced by the brain as well as the pancreas.

Lead researcher, Dr Suzanne de la Monte, carried out a further study in 2012 for Rhode Island Hospital to further investigate the link.

The researchers pinpoint resistance to insulin and insulin-like growth factor as being a key part of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. [61]

Whereas type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterised by hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar), a separate study, carried out by the University of Pennsylvania and published in 2012, excluded people with a history of diabetes, indicating that Alzheimer’s can develop without the presence of significant hyperglycemia in the brain. [62]

Increased risk of Alzheimer's

People that have insulin resistance, in particular those with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of suffering from Alzheimer's disease estimated to be between 50% and 65% higher.

Researchers at the medical school discovered that many type 2 diabetics have deposits of a protein called amyloid beta in their pancreas which is similar to the protein deposits found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer's sufferers.

Progress continues to be made into understanding the link between diabetes, insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are also testing diabetes medication as potential treatments for the neurodegenerative disease.

Explore Type 3 Diabetes