Diabetics may face a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, new research shows.
Scientists with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found that diabetes enhances the development of aging-related features in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s. The study, published in the journal Aging Cell, determined two hallmarks of the brain-wasting disease — accumulations of amyloid beta (Abeta) and tau protein — were more common in the brains of diabetic mice.
The study adds to the growing evidence that suggests a link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, and is the first to identify the physiological mechanisms to explain why. SPECIAL: Stop Your Sugar Addiction With These 4 Tips
"Our study supports and extends the links between diabetes, aging and Alzheimer's," said researcher Pamela Maher, a senior staff scientist in Salk's Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology. "We show that type 1 diabetes increases vascular-associated amyloid beta buildup in the brain and causes accelerated brain aging."
Alzheimer's and diabetes are both increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S. population. Alzheimer's affects one in 10 Americans over 65 years of age and nearly half of those over 85. More than 26 million Americans have diabetes, most being over 60.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer's Association.