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Diabetes and Alzheimer’s…is there a Connection?

May 13, 2015 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

Researchers have uncovered a unique connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, providing further evidence that a disease that robs people of their memories may be affected by elevated blood sugar, according to scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Previous studies have pointed to diabetes as a possible contributor to Alzheimer’s, but this new study—conducted on mice—shows that elevated glucose in the blood can rapidly increase levels of amyloid beta, a key component of brain plaques in Alzheimer’s patients. This buildup of plaque is thought to be an early driver of the complex set of changes that Alzheimer’s causes in the brain.

“Our results suggest that diabetes, or other conditions that make it hard to control blood sugar levels, can have harmful effects on brain function and exacerbate neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead author Shannon Macauley, Ph.D. “The link we’ve discovered could lease us to future treatment targets that reduce these effects.”

--Sarah Hagerty
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