A new study at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has suggested that insulin resistance may increase one's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Due to the resistance depriving the brain of sugar needed for normal cognition, scientists believe this may cause the condition to develop. While diabetes has always been linked to Alzheimer's, the connection has never been clear.
The study looked at 150 middle-aged individuals with normal cognitive function, and those with higher blood sugar levels had much lower levels of insulin processing. Out of the sample size, 40 per cent had the APOE gene that is linked with Alzheimer's, two-thirds had a parent with the condition and seven of them had diabetes.
Speaking to Reuters, study co-author Barbara Bendlin said: “By altering insulin resistance in midlife, it may be possible to reduce future risk of Alzheimer’s. Our findings suggest that insulin resistance could increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease by affecting glucose metabolism in the brain."
Those with the resistance and some with variations of the APOE gene had lower glucose metabolism, delaying memory performance, but more research will now need to be carried out to confirm all the discoveries found.
Ms Brendlin added that, for now, those concerned about developing Alzheimer's should consider lifestyle changes that are linked to insulin resistance, such as looking after their weight and doing enough exercise. This may, in turn, also prevent other associated conditions, such as cancer, infections and trauma. Doctors have been quick to suggest, however, that insulin injections shouldn't be directly applied just for memory loss.
In related news, an Italian study has suggested that a cup of coffee a day could reduce an individual's risk of developing Alzheimer's. It has emerged that moderate levels of caffeine in the blood could protect the brain against the amyloid proteins that end up destroying neurons and causing memory loss.
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