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Mid-Life Diabetes Ups Risk of Alzheimer’s

A new long-term study warns that men who become diabetics in mid-life appear to significantly increase their chance of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Our results have important public health implications given the increasing numbers of people developing diabetes and the need for more powerful interventions,” said study author Elina Rönnemaa, MD, with Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden.

The study involved 2,269 men in Sweden who underwent glucose testing at age 50 to test for diabetes, which is caused by abnormal insulin levels. During an average follow up of 32 years, 102 participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, 57 with vascular dementia and 235 with other types of dementia or cognitive impairment.

The study found that the men with low insulin secretion capacity at age 50 were nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than people without insulin problems. The risk remained significant regardless of blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and education.

“Our results suggest a link between insulin problems and the origins of Alzheimer’s disease and emphasize the importance of insulin in normal brain function,” said Rönnemaa.

“It’s possible that insulin problems damage blood vessels in the brain, which leads to memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease, but more research is needed to identify the exact mechanisms.”

The study also found the association between diabetes and risk of Alzheimer’s disease was strongest in people who did not have the APOE4 gene, which is known to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Rönnemaa says this shows that insulin problems are an important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease when the high risk gene is missing.

The study was supported by grants from Uppsala University Hospital and the Swedish Research Council.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Mid-Life Diabetes Ups Risk of Alzheimer’s

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Mid-Life Diabetes Ups Risk of Alzheimer’s. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/04/10/mid-life-diabetes-ups-risk-of-alzheimers/2143.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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