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Does Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Increase with Insulin Resistance?

Does Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Increase with Insulin Resistance?

A new study published this week in JAMA Neurology has linked Alzheimer’s disease risk to insulin resistance. Often occurring in individuals who are obese, pre-diabetic, or have Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance is a physiological condition in which the cells of the body fail to respond to normal actions of the hormone insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels.

During the study, memory tests were given to 150 adults with an average age of 61 and who were at risk for Alzheimer’s disease but had no mental impairments. Researchers also measured insulin resistance and had each participant undergo a PET brain scan. The results suggested that insulin resistance could increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease by modifying how the brain used sugar as energy – participants with higher levels of insulin resistance used less blood sugar as energy in parts of the brain that were more vulnerable to the disease. As a result of this, the brain had less energy to properly function.

“If you don’t have as much fuel, you’re not going to be as adept at remembering something or doing something,” stated Auriel Willete, lead author of the study. “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.”

As many as 5 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s disease in the United States while more than 67% of American adults are obese. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years after age 65. By 2050, it is estimated that the number of individuals with the disease will have tripled to approximately 14 million.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease to fall victim to scams, financial abuse and mistreatment, such as physical abuse. In fact, as many as 15% of individuals who suffer from dementia have been reported as targets of financial abuse alone. Of the 5 million Americans with some form of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, almost half experience some type of abuse, whether it be financial, verbal, or physical. Furthermore, elder abuse can take place in a nursing home or other health care environment. If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact a compassionate California nursing home abuse lawyer.


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