Is Alzheimer’s A Fourth Type Of Diabetes?
People with diabetes have a higher risk of dementia. But could dementia actually be a type of diabetes?
Some researchers say yes. The disease that affects millions of Americans — Alzheimer’s — is actually “type 3” diabetes, not a separate condition, some say.
In clinical practice today, there are three types of diabetes: type 1, which has no known cause or cure and is typically diagnosed in childhood; type 2, called the “lifestyle” diabetes, though it is also caused by ethnicity and family history; and gestational, which strikes pregnant women and in 90 percent of cases goes away after women give birth.
But as food writer and health advocate Mark Bittman writes in a recent New York Times op-ed, the idea that Alzheimer’s is actually just another form of diet-induced diabetes was introduced in 2005 by neuropathologist and professor at Brown Medical School, Suzanne de la Monte, MD, MPH. In her research, de la Monte demonstrated that levels of insulin and its receptors diminish significantly in the brain during early Alzheimer’s — and this trend continues as the disease progresses.
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