A new study finds a strong link between Obesity and Alzheimer’s.

Obesity and Alzheimer's Linked
Obesity and Alzheimer’s Linked

That’s a bad news/good news scenario. Bad news: If you have Type-2 Diabetes you may already be heading toward Alzheimer’s. Good news: You may be able to head off cognitive impairment if you start using Alzheimer’s drugs at the diabetes stage. The November 2013 issue of New Science Magazine tells of the study that links Type 2 Diabetes, that is, obesity and Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s cost the U.S. $130 billion in 2011 alone. According to this study, one of the biggest risk factors is having Type-2 Diabetes, which is usually triggered by eating too many sugary and high-fat foods, which causes insulin to spike, which in turn causes cells to become desensitized to its presence. Insulin resistance can also lead to memory loss and confusion.

Alzheimer’s cost the U.S. $130 billion in 2011 alone. According to this study, one of the biggest risk factors is having Type-2 Diabetes, which is usually triggered by eating too many sugary and high-fat foods, which cause insulin to spike, which causes cells to become desensitized to its presence. Insulin resistance can also lead to memory loss and confusion.

Not only could your liver, muscle and fat cells be “diabetic,” your brain could also be. Obesity and Alzheimer’s appear to have a strong connection.

Insulin plays a key role in memory. Findings suggest that Alzheimer’s might be caused by a type of brain diabetes. The memory problems that often accompany Type 2 Diabetes may actually be early-stage Alzheimer’s.

To investigate the cause of memory loss in Type 2 Diabetes, a group of research scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, fed 20 rats a high-fat diet to induce Type 2 Diabetes. As expected, the diabetic rats had weaker memories than the control group of 20 rats. To figure out why, they engineered fragments of antibodies that disrupt the action of either beta-amyloid plaques or the soluble precursors. When the plaque-disrupting anti-bodies were injected into the diabetic rats, there was no change. After receiving antibodies specific for oligomers, their reaction was identical to that of the non-diabetic rats.

This leads obesity and Alzheimer’s researchers to conclude that the cognitive decline seen in Type 2 Diabetes may be thought of as early-stage Alzheimer’s, which has huge implications. The number of people with Type 2 Diabetes is expected to jump from 382 million now to 592 million by 2035 – just 22 years – “… we might expect to see a similar trajectory for associated Alzheimer’s.”

Organizations like the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society have been supporting clinical trials to look for diabetes drugs that may effect Alzheimer’s patients. “That may not be the only way to think about it, though,” says Ewan McNay of the University at Albany in New York. Oliver Thibault at the University of Kentucky in Lexington agrees that McNay’s data suggests a causative link, but says the effect of aging needs to be factored in, as both diabetes and Alzheimer’s become more likely as one ages.

Researchers are hopeful that this study may lead to Alzheimer’s prevention.

More research must be done, but this work opens the door to inoculating the most at-risk group; people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Ewan McNay suggests a drug-free solution to preventing Type 2 Diabetes and any resultant diabetes. “Go to the gym and eat fewer twinkies.”

Obesity and Alzheimer's
Go to the gym and eat fewer Twinkies

For more information, please read the entire article on obesity and Alzheimer’s at:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22029453.400-are-alzheimers-and-diabetes-the-same-disease.html#.Up5A6qWM7fM

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