Tuesday, February 03, 2009

This sounds like really good news to me...

There seems to be a connection between Alzheimer's and diabetes. While startling to me, I guess this has been a line of thinking for several researchers for some time.
The discovery that insulin may slow or prevent Alzheimer's-related memory loss fuels existing theories that the disease may be caused by a third type of diabetes.
Persons who have type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin, or the body does not use insulin properly. Newer research has suggested that a "type 3" diabetes may also exist. Evidence has shown that brain cells need insulin to survive and that a drop in brain insulin levels leads to brain cell damage. Memory loss can occur if the cells that die are located in the hippocampus.
"Recognizing that Alzheimer's disease is a type of brain diabetes points the way to novel discoveries that may finally result in disease-modifying treatments for this devastating disease," Sergio T. Ferreira, a member of the research team and a professor of biochemistry in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, says in a news release. [More]
As more of our lives are touched by Alzheimer's, and our longevity increases the odds of it being a factor in our own later years, any advance that even slightly demystifies this ghastly affliction is welcome. Tying it to a familiar, albeit potent, medical foe is a start.

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