New link identified between diabetes and Alzheimer's

6 May 2015

A new study at the Washington University School of Medicine has identified a novel link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers found evidence that further supports the theory that elevated blood sugar could put people at a higher risk of developing the neurological condition.

The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that higher glucose in the blood can rapidly increase levels of amyloid beta, which is a key component of brain plaques in Alzheimer's patients.

"Our results suggest that diabetes, or other conditions that make it hard to control blood sugar levels, can have harmful effects on brain function and exacerbate neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease," said lead author Shannon Macauley, a postdoctoral research scholar. 

Dr Macauley said the new link could lead to future treatment targets that reduce these effects.

In experiments in the lab, the team doubled the normal levels of glucose in the blood, which increased amyloid beta levels in the brain by 20 per cent. However, when this was conducted in older models, the levels were increased by 40 per cent.

The team concluded that spikes in blood glucose increased the activity of neurons in the brain, which promoted production of amyloid beta. 

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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