I normally write about topics related to strategy, innovation, branding, and communication. I just spotted an article about new research on Alzheimer’s, however, and thought I would pass it on. (My Mom had Alzheimer’s so I’m interested). In the latest edition of New Scientist magazine, an article titled “Food For Thought” traces the connection between insulin and Alzheimer’s.
We’ve known for some time that insulin plays a role in regulating sugars and fats in the body. It turns out that insulin also helps the brain manage its consumption of glucose — and the brain sucks up a lot of glucose. The “Type 3” hypothesis posits that disrupting our insulin management system (as in Type 2 diabetes) can lead to plaques that are typical of Alzheimer’s. If that’s true — and it’s certainly not proven yet — then taking steps to reduce Type 2 diabetes could help reduce future cases of dementia.
You can find the New Scientist article here. I looked up some other references as well. The Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology notes that “there is a rapid growth in the literature pointing toward insulin deficiency and insulin resistance as mediators of … neurodegeneration” and then proceeds to review the literature. The conclusion: “…these studies provide strong evidence in support of the hypothesis that AD represents a form of diabetes mellitus that selectively afflicts the brain.”
An article from Rhode Island Hospital, notes that one of its researchers, Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., “has found a link between brain insulin resistance (diabetes) and two other key mediators of neuronal injury that help Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to propagate.” An article in Emax Health suggests that “Recent research has found that insulin resistance also develops in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s, which scientists sometimes call “brain diabetes.””
So, what to do? Nothing has been proven so Im not sure that there’s anything specific to do. But the New Scientist article does suggest that regular exercise can reduce the chance of dementia by as much as 40%. So I’m going for a bike ride. Anyone want to come along?