A new study has highlighted the link between type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and comes at a time when incidence of both chronic conditions has been on the rise.
The research, by scientists in Japan and published in Neurology, found that those people who have the highest levels of fasting insulin experienced almost six times the chances of having plaque deposits between nerves in the brain, as compared with those who have the lowest levels of fasting insulin. The patients who showed the highest levels of insulin resistance also had around five times the chances of having brain plaques as compared to people with the lowest scores on the test for insulin resistance.
One of the study authors, Kensuke Sasaki, commented “the risk of plaque-type Alzheimer’s disease pathology increases in a linear relationship with diabetes-related factors.”
The study focused on finding an explanation to the link between cognitive decline and dementia in people with type 2 diabetes, and involved examining the autopsies of 135 Japanese adults to compare how different indicators of type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance correlated with the development of plaque deposits between the nerves in the brain.
Richard Bergenstal, president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Associatio, also said “Research has been linking diabetes to dementia, and probably to Alzheimer’s, and this study is one more bit of evidence to say that we’d better get a handle on this.”

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