Alzheimer's and Diabetes: The Connection You Should Know About

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VIPcare-Alabama

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Jubilee Primary Care

Posted on

Jul 20, 2022

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Alabama - Gulf Coast

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Alzheimer's- should it be called type 3 diabetes? More and more scientists are saying that, but why?

A recent study shows that people with diabetes have a higher risk for Alzheimer's. Some think it may be because of high blood sugar levels alone. Others think it is because insulin resistance affects all organs, including the brain. 

There is a concept that most doctors don't know: it is called central nervous system insulin resistance. 

There is a type of antidiabetic medication such as sitagliptin that is used for diabetics, but is not usually prescribed for Alzheimer's disease.

They reviewed the clinical records of patients that met certain criteria for probable Alzheimer's dementia. They performed special scans that identified the presence of a substance in the brain that is associated with dementia. They also used standardized tests to evaluate cognitive impairment.

Three groups of patients were evaluated, diabetic patients under treatment with the medication, diabetic patients without the treatment, and non-diabetic patients.

The results were fascinating; they found that diabetic patients under treatment with medication showed lower amounts of the dementia substance in the brain, better results in cognitive tests, and overall slower cognitive decline when compared with patients that weren't using the medication.

In Alzheimer's disease, the amount of dementia related substance in the brain, as well as insulin resistance, play a vital role in the development of cognitive decline.

All of these findings suggest that managing insulin resistant diabetes with this certain type of medication improves not only diabetes, but Alzheimer's disease as well.

Editor’s Note:  The author is Ford Brewer, MD, MPH with Jubilee Primary Care. 

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