“More basic research is critical.”
Several scientific studies, but not all, link type 2 diabetes with Alzheimer’s disease. Some go so far as to say Alzheimer’s is type 3 diabetes.
My Twitter feed brought to my attention a scientific article I thought would clarify the relationships between diabetes, carbohydrate consumption, and Alzheimer’s dementia (full text).
Click the full text link to read all about insulin, amylin, insulin degrading enzyme, amyloid–β, and other factors that might explain the relationship between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s dementia. You’ll also find a comprehensive annotated list of the scientific studies investigating the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
Bottom line: We still don’t know the fundamental cause of Alzheimer’s disease. A cure and highly effective preventive measures are far in the future.
Action Plan For You
You may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by:
- avoiding type 2 diabetes
- preventing progression of prediabetes to diabetes
- avoiding obesity
- exercising regularly
- eating a Mediterranean-style diet
Carbohydrate restriction helps some folks prevent or resolve obesity, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. A low-carb Mediterranean diet is an option in my Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd edition).
Steve Parker, M.D.
Reference: Schilling, Melissa. Unraveling Alzheimer’s: Making Sense of the Relationship Between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 51 (2016): 961-977.
Two diet books in one
…according to an article at the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study involved Chicago-area residents who had provided information about their eating habits. After death, their brains were biopsied, looking for typical pathological findings of Alzheimers Disease.
Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel
Participants who ate seafood at least once a week had fewer Alzheimers lesions in their brains, but only if they were carriers of a particular gene the predisposes to Alzheimers. The gene is called apolipoprotein E or APOE ε4.
You’ve heard that seafood may be contaminated with mercury, right? The seafood eaters in this study indeed had higher brain levels of mercury, but it didn’t cause any visible brain damage.
The Mediterranean diet, relatively rich in seafood, has long been linked to a lower risk of dementia.
A weakness of the study is that the researchers didn’t report results of clinical testing for dementia in these participants before they died. You can have microscopic evidence of Alzheimers disease on a biopsy, yet no clinically diagnosis of dementia.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Two diet books in one
…particularly in Australian men at high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease. MedPageToday has the details.
“Let’s work on getting those blood sugars down, honey.”
On the heels of a report finding no association between Alzheimer’s disease and abnormal blood sugar metabolism, MedPageToday features an new study linking high blood sugars to future development of dementia. And diabetics with sugar levels higher than other diabetics were more prone to develop dementia.
Some of you have already noted that not all cases of dementia are Alzheimer’s dementia. But Alzheimer’s accounts for a solid majority of dementia cases.
Some quotes from MedPageToday:
During a median follow-up of 6.8 years, 524 participants [of the 2000 total] developed dementia, consisting of 74 with diabetes and 450 without. Patients without diabetes and who developed dementia had significantly higher average glucose levels in the 5 years before diagnosis of dementia (P=0.01). The difference translated into a hazard ratio of 1.18 (95% CI 1.04-1.33).
Among the patients with diabetes, glucose levels averaged 190 mg/dL in those who developed dementia versus 160 mg/dL in those who did not. The difference represented a 40% increase in the hazard for dementia (HR 1.40, 95% CI 1.12-1.76).
—Steve Parker, M.D.
Reference: Crane PK et al. “Glucose Levels and Risk of Dementia” N Engl J Med 2013; 369: 540-548.
Reminder: Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes is now available on Kindle.
Larry Huston has the details. ACE inhibitors are commonly used to treat high blood pressure.
The ACE inhibitors in the study were perindopril, ramipril, trandolapril, captopril, fosinopril, lisinopril, prinivil and monopril.
…according to a report at MedPageToday. IVIG is intravenous immune globulin. Search this site and you’ll find evidence supporting the Mediterranean diet as preventative measure as well as a disease-slowing diet.