New research has found the link between Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes goes both ways
While previous studies have identified that developing diabetes can put you at a greater risk of dementia, now new research claims that having Alzheimer’s disease could also lead to getting diabetes.
A study published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia found impairments within the hypothalamus – an area of the brain responsible for triggering the release of certain body chemicals – could impair insulin signalling. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This means that glucose stays in the blood stream for too long.
Dr Christoph Buettner, from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, who led the study, said there was a ‘real possibility’ that some cases of type 2 diabetes in humans could be triggered by Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Buettner theorises that because the typical onset age for type 2 diabetes is usually earlier than Alzheimer’s disease, it may be the case that very early pathological processes of Alzheimer’s are already occurring in the brain and not showing any symptoms, and these are then triggering diabetes (which may show symptoms earlier).
Essentially, the study is bringing up a chicken and egg scenario. What comes first? Alzheimer’s disease or type 2 diabetes? Dr Buettner hopes the study will help to encourage more funding into research between the link.
For more information on what causes dementia, click here.