In a new paper published by The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Professor Melissa Schilling, a strategy and innovation expert at the NYU Stern School of Business, uncovers a surprising new connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease: hyperinsulinemia, which is most often caused by prediabetes, early or undiagnosed diabetes, or obesity, is responsible for almost half of all cases of Alzheimer’s disease. “Our research teams are particularly interested in the impact of lifestyle related factors in dementia and by collaborating with experts in diabetes and metabolism, we have been able to investigate the nature of the link in great detail. Although AD pathology is accelerated by diabetes in mice engineered to accumulate human-sequence amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides, they do not adequately model non-inherited AD. The worst thing about our Western diet is the high number of inflammatory foods in it. When glucose levels were doubled in mice without any amyloid plaque, amyloid levels doubled in their brain by 20%, the researchers reported in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. According to Diabetes UK the NHS already spends 10 per cent of its entire budget on diabetes and 80 per cent of this goes on treating complications such as amputation, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke. Their brain will be scanned at the start of the experiment and after 12 months to look for changes in brain glucose, inflammation and brain volume, all indicators of Alzheimer’s.
A healthier diet, he suggests, would make sense toward limiting one’s potential for getting diabetes, and according to the new research, for potentially Alzheimer’s as well. Previous animal studies have shown that the diabetes drug liraglutide can reverse some of the damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease and improve memory.