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Diabetes and diseases like Alzheimer's have a strong connection
Alzheimer's is a disease that primarily affects older people. Many of these people also have problems with their blood sugar. Researchers have now found that there is a much stronger link between Alzheimer's and diabetes than previously thought. The deviations in the blood sugar level therefore lead to a degeneration of our brain.
Scientists from Aberdeen University in Scotland found that diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The problems with blood sugar can trigger degeneration of our brain. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Diabetologia".
Diabetic complications cause brain damage in mice
It is known that up to 80 percent of older Alzheimer's patients have blood sugar problems or already have diabetes, say the doctors. According to the researchers, diabetes increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. In their investigation, the experts observed that diabetic complications in the blood of test mice led to brain damage.
44 million people around the world have Alzheimer's
The new discovery could lead to more effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, explains lead author Bettina Platt from Aberdeen University in Scotland. There is no known cure for Alzheimer's and the disease is only diagnosed when the brain damage that occurs is already too severe to be reversed. Experts believe that there are approximately 44 million Alzheimer's patients worldwide.
80 percent of Alzheimer's patients also suffer from diabetes
Some medications could be particularly effective if patients suffer from both Alzheimer's and diabetes, doctors say. These drugs may be able to interrupt the harmful cycle, explains Platt. The team of scientists worked with endocrinologists to find out why both diseases coexist in up to 80 percent of Alzheimer's patients.
Gene in the brain leads to a toxic build-up of proteins
The new findings are extremely interesting, because Alzheimer's apparently was not inherited in the vast majority of people, but is triggered by so-called lifestyle factors or other diseases, the scientists explain. The researchers found that a gene in the brain leads to a toxic build-up of proteins, which then triggers an irreversible memory loss and can also cause diabetic complications.
Diabetes and dementia are mutually beneficial
So far, we have always assumed that mostly obese people develop type 2 diabetes, the authors say. As a result, they later develop dementia. Now, however, the new study has made it clear that this effect can also work the other way round, says Platt. She added that it can be assumed that the risk of diabetes can be reduced by eating healthy and paying attention to your weight. At the same time, the risk of Alzheimer's disease could be reduced, explains the researcher. (as)