Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic and gradual neurodegenerative disease. It is the most frequent cause of dementia in the elderly population of developed countries. In fact, it is currently estimated that about 5% of the population over the age of 65 and about 20% of over-85s are affected, although in various cases it can also show an early onset around 50 years of life.
1% of Alzheimer’s cases originates from the presence of a mutated gene that identifies its transmission from one generation to another in the same family. The remaining 99% of cases show themselves in a “sporadic” way, ie in people who are not clearly familiar with the disease.
The reason at the beginning of Alzheimer’s seems to be associated with the alteration of the metabolism of a protein. The precursor protein of beta amyloid which at some point in the life of several people begins to be metabolized in an altered way. Thus leading to the formation of a neurotoxic substance or beta amyloid which is gradually stored in the brain leading to progressive neuronal death. It is thought that there may be a link between this pathology and that of the disease of diabetes.
Alzheimer’s: what’s the link with diabetes? Here is the truth
The first study, which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, assumes that there may be a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The increased levels of glucose in the blood, in fact, can cause the levels of beta-amyloid to rise rapidly.
Key element of the cerebral plaques that distinguish Alzheimer’s patients and whose clustering is considered an early driver of the complex series of changes that lead to the development of the disease.
To understand how elevated blood glucose values could affect the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers subjected mice to glucose infusions to develop a condition resembling Alzheimer’s. They found that in young mice, without amyloid plaques in their brains, a doubling of blood glucose levels led to an increase in levels of beta-amyloid in the brain by 20%.
When the experiment was repeated in older mice, which had already developed brain plaques, the levels of beta-amyloid increased by 40%. So we can say that a link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes exists. But the study is still ongoing even if the first results are already confirming this theory.