Two new studies carried out into the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease have provided further evidence that Alzheimers could be linked to insulin resistance and even constitute a third type of diabetes.
The studies, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigatio, pinpointed a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease for diabetes patients, and that there were lower levels of insulin present in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. However, the findings do not show whether defective insulin signalling causes Alzheimer’s or the way in which insulin resistance has an effect on cognitive function.
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania explored insulin signalling in human brain tissue after death, revealing that the activation state of many insulin signalling molecules were closely related to memory and cognitive function. The study at the University of Rio de Janeiro also indicated that insulin resistance is a common and early feature of Alzheimer’s disease.
The second study used a mouse model system of Alzheimer’s disease to explain that treatments via an anti-diabetic drug were able to normalise insulin signalling and provide much improved cognitive function. Together, the two studies show strong evidence for a link between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease, which it is hoped will lead to new treatments for the disease.

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