Links Found between Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease

People with Type 2 Diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's. Scientists speculate there is a connection, and seek to find it.

The Data

"Diabetes" magazine says that Alzheimer's and diabetes are the most common diseases of the aging. In the United States, there are 29 million people with diabetes-- more than a quarter of those people are over the age of 65.

Additionally, 5.4 million suffer from Alzheimer's. One in eight people over the age of 65 suffer from the disease.

According to the New York Times, Alzheimer’s may be a form of diet-induced diabetes. As of late, it's being called 'Type 3 diabetes' by some.

Alzheimer's Connection

Alzheimer's is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, and research suggests that it's caused when the brain is unable to fully process insulin. Alzheimer's is like diabetes in the brain.

The brain's reduced ability to use insulin may decrease its ability to function. This may lead to protein abnormalities -- a form of plaque -- that is found in the brain of people with Alzheimer's.

The Good News

While the research is not fully complete, and much more needs to be done, higher blood glucose levels seem to be the culprit. Keeping your glucose levels within normal range decreases a diabetic's chance of developing dementia by 20 percent.

Further, effective diabetes treatments show promise in treating Alzheimer's.

The more scientists understand about both diseases, and any connections, the closer we are to treatments and an eventual cure.

Photo: Science Daily