Research has shown that the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is related to various processes in diabetes. This article summarizes what is currently known about the diabetes-Alzheimer’s connection and how this may pave the way for new treatments for the disease.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), sometimes also called “late-onset dementia,” is a neurological disorder that accounts for more than half of all diagnosed cases of dementia. Its incidence is increasing, and it is estimated that by 2025, over 7 million Americans will be affected.
The main symptoms of AD are short-term memory loss and cognitive impairment, which can affect many vital functions, including:
- Decision making
- Motor control
- Numerous behavioral aspects
Typically, the disease is progressive, with escalating symptoms that eventually interfere significantly with typical daily life tasks.
On the molecular level, AD is primarily caused by the accumulation of abnormally processed proteins (in particular, amyloid beta) in the brain. The abnormal proteins form aggregates, referred to as plaques, which can be visualized with various brain imagining techniques. These abnormalities can “trigger oxidative stress, microvascular dysfunction, and blood–brain barrier (BBB) disruption, and can induce the activation of an inflammatory response within the brain, ultimately resulting in neuronal damage and consequent neurodegeneration.”
Connections to Diabetes
The pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s appears to be related to certain processes that occur in diabetes. In fact, the….