Patients on Diabetes Meds May Ward Off Alzheimer’s
A new study comparing people with diabetes, prediabetes and normal blood sugar finds that diabetes, left untreated, could mean a higher likelihood of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
USC Dornsife psychologists have found that those patients with untreated diabetes developed signs of Alzheimer’s disease 1.6 times faster than people who did not have diabetes.
Untreated diabetics develop Alzheimer’s signs 1.6 times faster than non-diabetics.
Studying Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease
The study was published March 4 in the journal Diabetes Care.
“Our findings emphasize the importance of catching diabetes or other metabolic diseases in adults as early as you can,” says Daniel A. Nation, a psychologist at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
“Among people with diabetes, the difference in their rate of developing the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s is clearly tied somehow to whether or not they are on medication for it.”
Diabetes treatment lowers Alzheimer’s risk significantly.
Nation says that this study may be the first to compare the rate of developing the pathology for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia among people with normal glucose levels, with pre-diabetes, or people with type 2 diabetes — both treated and untreated.
Analyzing Biomarkers of Brain Disease
For the study, the scientists were comparing the “tau pathology” — the progression of the brain tangles that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
When the tangles combine with sticky beta-amyloid plaques — a toxic protein — they disrupt signals between brain cells, impairing memory and other functions.
Nation and Elissa McIntosh, a USC Dornsife Ph.D. doctoral candidate in psychology, analyzed data collected by the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative on 1,289 people age 55 and older.
Data included biomarkers for diabetes and vascular disease, brain scans and a range of health indicators, including performance on memory tests.
Ten Years of Data
For some participants, Nation and McIntosh were able to analyze 10 years’ worth of data, while for others, they had one or four years.
Among 900 of those patients, 54 had type 2 diabetes but were not being treated, while 67 were receiving treatment.
Most people in the study — 530 — had normal blood sugar levels while 250 had prediabetes (hyperglycemia).
The researchers compared, among the different diabetic patient categories, the brain and spinal fluid test results that can indicate signs of amyloid plaques and the brain tangles.
Slowing Brain Degeneration
“It is possible that the medicines for treating diabetes might make a difference in the progression of brain degeneration,” Nation says.
“But it’s unclear how exactly those medications might slow or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, so that is something we need to investigate.”
Diabetes medication can slow brain degeneration.
Increasingly, scientists regard Alzheimer’s disease as the result of a cascade of multiple problems, instead of triggered by one or two.
The compounding factors range from pollution exposure and genetics (the ApoE4 gene, for instance) to heart disease and metabolic syndrome (or Syndrome ‘X’).
Bright Spots & Landmines:
The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me
Adam Brown’s acclaimed diaTribe column, Adam’s Corner, has brought life-transforming diabetes tips to over 1 million people since 2013.
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Along the way, Adam argues that the usual focus on problems and mistakes in diabetes (Landmines) misses the bigger opportunity: Bright Spots.
By identifying what’s working and finding ways to do those things more often, we can all live healthier, happier, and more hopeful lives.
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The Complete Diabetes Cookbook:
The Healthy Way to Eat the Foods You Love
America’s Test Kitchen’s urgent mission is to provide a path to healthier eating for anyone cooking for diabetes and encourage home cooks to get into the kitchen with a complete collection of great-tasting recipes.
Vetted by a dietician and a doctor, all of the more than 400 inspired recipes in The Complete Diabetes Cookbook maximize healthy ingredients and flavor while adhering to specific nutritional guidelines.
Enjoy every meal with fresh and creative recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including options for entertaining, snacks, and occasional sweet treats.
The End of Alzheimer’s
by Dr. Dale Bredesen
Everyone knows someone who has survived cancer, but until now no one knows anyone who has survived Alzheimer’s Disease.
In this paradigm shifting book, Dale Bredesen, MD, offers real hope to anyone looking to prevent and even reverse Alzheimer’s Disease and cognitive decline.
Revealing that AD is not one condition, as it is currently treated, but three, The End of Alzheimer’s outlines 36 metabolic factors (micronutrients, hormone levels, sleep) that can trigger “downsizing” in the brain.
The protocol shows us how to rebalance these factors using lifestyle modifications like taking B12, eliminating gluten, or improving oral hygiene.
The results are impressive. Of the first ten patients on the protocol, nine displayed significant improvement with 3-6 months; since then the protocol has yielded similar results with hundreds more.
Now, The End of Alzheimer’s brings new hope to a broad audience of patients, caregivers, physicians, and treatment centers with a fascinating look inside the science and a complete step-by-step plan that fundamentally changes how we treat and even think about AD.
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