Emerging research on the widespread degenerative brain disease known as Alzheimer’s suggests that this prevalent form of dementia is actually a type of diabetes. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a recent study out of Rhode Island Hospital (RIH) confirms that Alzheimer’s is marked by brain insulin resistance and corresponding inflammation, a condition that some researchers are now referring to as type-3 diabetes.
Dr. Suzanne de la Monte from RIH is the one responsible for making this fascinating connection, having found in her research that diabetes is closely associated with several key neuronal factors implicated in dementia. It turns out that Alzheimer’s progresses as a result of the brain developing resistance to insulin, which in turn prevents proper lipid (fat) metabolism. Over time, these lipids build up in the brain rather than properly absorb, which results in increased stress and inflammation, as well as the symptoms commonly associated with dementia.
“This study points out that once AD (Alzheimer’s Disease) is established, therapeutic efforts should target several different pathways — not just one,” says Dr. de la Monte. “The reason is that a positive feedback loop gets going, making AD progress. We have to break the vicious cycle. Restoring insulin responsiveness and insulin depletion will help, but we need to reduce brain stress and repair the metabolic problems that cause the brain to produce toxins.”