De­pres­sion com­mon in di­a­bet­ics

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Yolisa Tswanya

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.”

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