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Insulin effects brain health

Insulin effects brain health
2nd February 2012

Resistance to insulin is linked to brain health in older adults, according to a recent study.

Reduced insulin sensitivity leads to a smaller sized brain and deteriorated language skills in seniors, researchers from Uppsala University claim.

Insulin supports the uptake and use of glucose in muscle and fat tissue, but when it reaches the brain it enhances memory function.

While it is known that the ability of insulin to stimulate the brain declines with age, the study has found that it may also affect the rate of cognitive aging.

Christian Benedict and colleagues studied 331 men and women who were 75 years of age, measuring their brain structure using magnetic imaging and their language skills.

"We found that in elderly whose insulin sensitivity was still high, the brains were larger, and they had more grey matter in regions that are important for language skills, compared with those who had diminished insulin sensitivity," Mr Benedict, lead author, stated.

The findings could help combat neurological conditions, such as dementia, and support existing research indicating that insulin levels drop in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

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