Tags: Study: | Alzheimer's | May | Form | Diabetes

Study: Alzheimer's May Be Form of Diabetes

Wednesday, 21 December 2005 12:00 AM

An intriguing new study from Brown University has linked declining insulin production in the brain to Alzheimer's disease, leading inevitably to the question - could Alzheimer's be a form of diabetes?

"Insulin disappears early and dramatically in Alzheimer's disease," says senior researcher Suzanne M. de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Rhode Island Hospital and a professor of pathology at Brown University Medical School.

"And many of the unexplained features of Alzheimer's, such as cell death and tangles in the brain, appear to be linked to abnormalities in insulin signaling. This demonstrates that the disease is most likely a neuroendocrine disorder, or another type of diabetes."

The Brown researchers found that brain insulin produced by patients with Alzheimer's disease tends to be below normal levels and that brain levels of insulin and its related cellular receptors fall precipitously during the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Insulin levels then continue to drop progressively as the disease becomes more severe - adding to evidence that Alzheimer's might be a new form of diabetes.

In the study, the scientists autopsied the brain tissue of 45 patients diagnosed with different degrees of Alzheimer's called "Braak Stages." They compared those tissues to samples taken from individuals with no history of the disease.

When the team analyzed insulin and insulin receptor function in the frontal cortex of the brain, a major area affected by Alzheimer's, they found that as the severity of Alzheimer's increased, the levels of insulin receptors and the brain's ability to respond to insulin decreased.

"In the most advanced stage of Alzheimer's, insulin receptors were nearly 80 percent lower than in a normal brain," de la Monte said.

In addition, the researchers found two abnormalities related to insulin in Alzheimer's. First, levels of insulin dropped as the disease progressed. Second, insulin and its related protein - insulin-related growth factor-I - lose the ability to bind to cell receptors. This creates a resistance to the insulin growth factors, causing the cells to malfunction and die.

In addition, the Brown University team found that low levels of acetylcholine - a known sign of Alzheimer's - are directly linked to this loss of insulin.

"We're able to show that insulin impairment happens early in the disease," de la Monte said. "We're able to show it's linked to major neurotransmitters responsible for cognition. We're able to show it's linked to poor energy metabolism, and it's linked to abnormalities that contribute to the tangles characteristic of advanced Alzheimer's disease. "This work ties several concepts together and demonstrates that Alzheimer's disease is quite possibly a Type 3 diabetes."

Experts say the work may lead to an insulin-like medication that can be injected into early Alzheimer's patients to prevent memory loss. The report appears in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

110-103

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
An intriguing new study from Brown University has linked declining insulin production in the brain to Alzheimer's disease, leading inevitably to the question - could Alzheimer's be a form of diabetes? "Insulin disappears early and dramatically in Alzheimer's disease,"...
Study:,Alzheimer's,May,Form,Diabetes
459
2005-00-21
Wednesday, 21 December 2005 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved