Alzheimer’s may be late-stage di­a­betes

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS -

ALZHEIMER’S and di­a­betes may be the same dis­ease, sci­en­tists claim.

They have un­cov­ered ev­i­dence that the de­bil­i­tat­ing form of de­men­tia may be late stages of Type 2 di­a­betes.

The dis­cov­ery would ex­plain why nearly three­quar­ters of pa­tients with this form of di­a­betes go on to de­velop Alzheimer’s.

Re­searchers from Al­bany Univer­sity in the US be­lieve the ex­cess in­sulin they pro­duce gets into the brain and dis­rupts key chem­i­cals.

Type 2 di­a­betes is trig­gered by obe­sity. Around 70 per cent of suf­fer­ers go on to de­velop Alzheimer’s, com- pared with just 10 per cent of healthy men and 20 per cent of healthy women.

Al­though doc­tors have known for some time that Type 2 di­a­betes suf­fer­ers are more at risk, there has been lit­tle re­search into the link.

Pro­fes­sor Ewan McNay, a re­searcher based at Al­bany Univer­sity, said: ‘‘ Peo­ple who de­velop di­a­betes have to re­alise this is about more than con­trol­ling their weight or diet. It’s also the first step on the road to cog­ni­tive de­cline. At first they won’t be able to keep up with their kids play­ing games, but in 30 years’ time they may not even recog­nise them.’’

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