Depression common in diabetics
ALZHEIMER’S and depression have both been linked to the biggest killer of South African women – diabetes.
Yesterday was World Diabetes Day, and while researchers at the Warren Alpert Medical School in the US say they have found a link between a new form of diabetes – type 3 – and Alzheimer’s, Dr Bavi Vythilingum, a psychiatrist, said depression was common in diabetes sufferers.
Chief specialist scientist at the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Professor Christo Muller said type 3 diabetes is a more “complex disease and has its origin in the central nervous system”.
“Many type 2 diabetics have deposits of a protein called beta-amyloid in their pancreas, which is similar to the protein deposits found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s sufferers. According to research published in the World Journal of Diabetes, this increases type 2 diabetics’ risk of Alzheimer’s disease by between 50% and 65%.”
He added that Alzheimer’s is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the health of the brain over a period of time, and now scientists have discovered a strong connection between the disease and insulin resistance in the brain – also referred to as type 3 diabetes.
Muller said current research shows that rooibos tea has the potential to delay or prevent the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes; however, its effect on the associated risk of type 3 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease still needs to be clarified.
“The brain is one of the organs most sensitive to oxidative stress, and long-term exposure to increased levels of free radicals causes damage to neural cells. Dietary antioxidants, such as those found in rooibos, could thus protect vulnerable neurons against the impact of oxidative by-products.”