A new study, published by Iowa State University in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology, has specified that memory loss caused by insulin resistance increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Insulin resistance occurs predominantly in people suffering from obesity, pre-diabates and type 2 diabetes.
The researchers examined brain scans of 150 late middle-aged research participants; at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but showed no sign of memory loss. Participants with higher levels of insulin resistance do not have proper brain function and used less blood sugar in areas of the brain most susceptible to Alzheimer’s.
“If you don’t have as much fuel, you’re not going to be as adept at remembering something or doing something,” Auriel Willette, a research scientist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State said. “This is important with Alzheimer’s disease, because over the course of the disease there is a progressive decrease in the amount of blood sugar used in certain brain regions. Those regions end up using less and less.”
“We are terrible at adjusting our behavior based on what might happen in the future,” Willette said. “That’s why people need to know that insulin resistance or related problems with metabolism can have an effect in the here and now on how they think, and it’s important to treat. For Alzheimer’s, it’s not just people with Type 2 diabetes. Even people with mild or moderate insulin resistance who don’t have Type 2 diabetes might have an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease because they’re showing many of the same sorts of brain and memory relationships.”
The scientists specify that improved nutrition and moderate exercise is a crucial prevention at any age. The risk is more immediate in people prone to Alzheimer’s disease. Problems regulating blood sugar may impact cognitive function at any age.