Alzheimer's disease associated with insulin resistance
Alzheimer's disease is associated with insulin resistance and may constitute a third type of diabetes, according to emerging evidence cited in an article in Medical News Today.
One study by University of Pennsylvania researchers examined insulin signaling in human brain tissue. They found that memory and cognitive function is highly related to activated insulin signaling molecules.
Those researchers concluded that insulin resistance is a common and early feature of Alzheimer's disease.
A different group of scientists from the University of Rio de Janeiro found that Alzheimer's brain tissue exhibited impaired insulin signaling.
Furthermore, they proved in laboratory mice that a new anti-diabetic drug normalized insulin signaling and significantly improved cognitive function.
However, the existing evidence to date does not definitively prove if defective insulin signaling causes Alzheimer's or how insulin resistance affects cognitive function.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia causing 50 to 80 percent of all cases, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
The disease causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop gradually and worsen over time. They can become serious enough to interfere with daily life.
Memory loss is mild in the very early stages of the disease. However, in late stages, patients lose their ability to have a conversation and respond to their environment.
Alzheimers is not a disease of old age. Up to five percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer's that appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s, according to Alzheimer's Association.
Alzheimer's patients can survive anywhere from four to 20 years after their symptoms become noticeable.
Warning signs of the disease include memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, problems with words in speaking or writing, misplacing things, decreased judgment, withdrawal from social situations, and changes in personality.
Both research papers are published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Sources: Medical News Today, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Alzheimer's Association