Wellness Wednesday: Brain & Alzheimer’s Awareness: Is Diabetes linked to Alzheimer’s?

There are about 5.4 million Americans currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and about 44 million worldwide. That number is expected to triple in the next 20 years.  

June is Brain and Alzheimer awareness month.  Perhaps it is time to rethink the disease altogether. One approach is to look for genes that increase the risk of developing the disease. The problem with this approach is that there are surprisingly few of these genes, and they are rare. Alzheimer’s does not appear to be driven by gene mutations, so this approach does not shed new light on the underlying processes.

Another option is to look at the risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s. One of these is type 2 diabetes. Clearly, diabetes is very different from Alzheimer’s disease, so what’s the connection?

In diabetes, insulin becomes less effective at controlling blood sugar levels. But insulin does a lot more than just control blood sugar; it is a “growth factor”. Neurons (brain cells) are very dependent on growth factors, and if they don’t get enough, they die.

Now what? Tune into what Dr. Sean has to say about the link between Alzheimer and diabetes.