Research shows diabetes treatment may keep Alzheimer's disease

Originally published HERE

LOS ANGELES, March 25 (Xinhua) – A new research of the University of Southern California (USC) shows progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s signature tangles are much faster in people with untreated diabetes.

USC Dornsife psychologists have found that those patients with untreated diabetes developed signs of Alzheimer’s disease 1.6 times faster than people who did not have diabetes, said a release of the university on Monday.

Patients on medication for type 2 diabetes may be keeping Alzheimer’s disease away, according to the study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of catching diabetes or other metabolic diseases in adults as early as you can,” said Daniel A. Nation, a psychologist at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

“Among people with diabetes, the difference in their rate of developing the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s is clearly tied somehow to whether or not they are on medication for it,” Nation said.

For the study, the scientists were comparing the “tau pathology,” the progression of the brain tangles that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

When the tangles combine with sticky beta-amyloid plaques – a toxic protein – they disrupt signals between brain cells, impairing memory and other functions, according to the study.

USC researchers analyzed data collected by the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative on 1,289 people aged 55 and older. Among 900 of those patients, 54 had type 2 diabetes but were not being treated, while 67 were receiving treatment.

The researchers compared, among the different diabetic patient categories, the brain and spinal fluid test results that can indicate signs of amyloid plaques and the brain tangles.

“It is possible that the medicines for treating diabetes might make a difference in the progression of brain degeneration,” Nation said. “But it’s unclear how exactly those medications might slow or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, so that is something we need to investigate.”

Increasingly, scientists regard Alzheimer’s disease as the result of a cascade of multiple problems. The compounding factors range from pollution exposure and genetics to heart disease and metabolic disease.

Here’s a review article I came across about a year ago when I was concerned I was at higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. I have uncles on both sides of my family (none had diabetes) that had Alzheimers.

These authors conclude that high blood, low blood sugar and even fluctuating blood sugar increases risk of dementia. Very frightening. Another reason to maintain good control.

You can get the full article using the PDF link.

Mini Review Open Access

The Presence of Dementia as one of Diabetic Complications: Hyperglycemia, Hypoglycemia and Glycemic Fluctuation are Associated with the Development of Dementia

Hideaki Kaneto*, Tomoe Kinoshita, Masashi Shimoda and Kohei Kaku

Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Kawasaki Medical School, Japan

*Corresponding Author:

Hideaki Kaneto
Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism
Kawasaki Medical School, 577 Matsushima
Kurashiki 701-0192, Japan
Tel: +81864621111

Received date: February 10, 2017; Accepted date: February 16, 2017; Published date : February 23, 2017

Citation: Kaneto H, Kinoshita T, Shimoda M, Kaku K (2017) The Presence of Dementia as one of Diabetic Complications: Hyperglycemia, Hypoglycemia and Glycemic Fluctuation are Associated with the Development of Dementia. J Alzheimers Dis Parkinsonism 7:305. doi:10.4172/2161-0460.1000305

Copyright: © 2017 Kaneto H, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Visit for more related articles at Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism

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The number of subjects with dementia has been increasing all over the world which has become one of the serious social issues. Mainly, there are two types of dementia; one type is Alzheimer’s disease and another type is vascular dementia. Such dementia is often complicated in elderly subjects with diabetes and thereby it is thought that dementia is one of diabetic complications. There are many possible explanation about the mechanism by which dementia is easily induced in subjects with diabetes. Chronic hyperglycemia and repeated hypoglycemia are closely associated with the onset and/or development of dementia. In addition, the fluctuation of blood glucose level per se is also associated with dementia. In this review article, we would like to describe the current status of dementia and association between dementia and diabetes.

Here’s another resource for those interested in the Alzheimer’s topic. There’s an emerging acknowledgment that hyper-insulinemia plays a significant role in the initiation and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Amy Berger wrote the book, The Alzheimer’s Antidote: Using a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet to Fight Alzheimer’s.

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That’s a very interesting presentation that draws some very significant conclusions. I’d be much more comfortable if this was presented in a peer-reviewed medical or research journal rather than a book where there’s commercial incentive to the author.

Maybe it’s because I’m a scientist, but when someone with a BA in creative writing and MS in nutrition makes sweeping conclusions about genetics and neurobiology and how the rest of the commerical and academic research world is “missing the obvious”, I’m skeptical.

Still, I hope her theories prove true under rigorous review and with more extensive and corroborating investigation. What a breakthrough if diet could make the type of significant contributions she suggests toward preventing or slowing the progression of such a devastating disease.

I don’t share your skepticism for reports from people without significant medical credentials. In fact, sometimes medical researchers are so enmeshed in the hierachy of the status quo, they’d much rather “go along to get along” that speak out with any thing bordering on disruptive.

Perhaps this 2104 study entitled, Postprandial insulin assay as the earliest biomarker for diagnosing pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and increased cardiovascular risk, might be interesting to you. It basically suggests that hyperinsulinemia is linked with many diseases.

Hyperinsulinaemia is thought to be aetiological in hypertension, obesity, atherosclerosis, microvascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, idiopathic peripheral neuropathy and certain cancers,4 5 and is associated with idiopathic tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss.6

The Cummins/Berger interview extend this line of questioning into the realm of Alzheimer’s, not too much of a stretch from the neurodegenerative disorders cited in the above study. Dr. Joseph Kraft studied and published on the topic of hyperinsulinemia 44 years ago.

While I know that scientists and researchers need to stand on firm ground but sometimes the herd mentality undermines pursuing the truth. Dr. Richard Bernstein, endocrinologist and T1D himself, could not get anyone to listen to him since he was an engineer.

So he went to medical school in his 40s and became an MD. His peers still held him up to ridicule when he tried to persuade them that diabetes was a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. He was a boat-rocker and people benefitting from the status quo don’t like boat-rockers, credential or no credential.

The trouble with doing randomized control trials that involve food is that they are hard to do. Most trials rely on food diaries that depend on the good memory and judgment of the participants. The only alternative is to sequester the test subjects for long periods and control/record everything they eat. This is prohibitively expensive and only the deepest pockets like Big Pharma can afford to do this.

If this low carb, high fat diet is truly as effective as Berger asserts, who will economically gain from that fact? There will be no blockbuster drug patents issued and billions of dollars of profits made from selling a drug.

While I fully understand the disregard scientists and researchers have for anecdotal reports, the fact that they are anecdotes does not mean they are false. In the meantime, while all this sorts out in the scientific community, people face Alzheimer’s today. They can’t afford to wait for the well-executed studies. If they and their families decide to utilize a low carb, high fat way of eating as a trial, what harm will befall them?

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I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. I hope what she’s saying is true. She has a hypothesis. Any hypothesis needs to stand up to validation. In this case, that step’s been ignored.

I also question your comments about ‘no way to conduct studies’.
That’s just not true. Measuring the impact of diet on all sorts of medical conditions is happening all the time. Just look at the number of scientific journals focused on food and nutrition. And there’s significant work underway and completed on food and dementia. From what I read, the fact that there is a connection between diet and dementia is well accepted, but so far specific recommendations are elusive. Here’s a great 2016 article from NIH discussing what’s known as well as the confounding factors making connecting dementia and specific diet elements so difficult.

There’s no herd mentality, becuase no one has the answers. Her idea is a good as any other. Sidestepping the scientific method, not conducting research, and not presenting your results in a peer-reviewed environment like everyone else doesn’t help find the answers. Doing so will add to the collective knowledge, even if the results are negative.

I think you can see there’s significant investment in basic science funded in part by the government and academia. Answering fundamental questions is the goal. It’s premature to say where the work will lead and whether there’s a commercial opportunity.

Will anyone be physically harmed? I doubt it, but it may offer false hope that this is a magic bullet before we truly know if it is. If you make that claim, don’t be afraid to prove it!