A team of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has conducted a study which shows that diabetes could somehow be linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Although this is not the first time diabetes is associated with the appearance of Alzheimer’s, the new study, done on mice, suggests that an increased level of glucose in a patient’s blood can increase the levels of amyloid beta very rapidly.
The amyloid beta is one of the components of brain plaques found in individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s.
The experts believe that the plaques are one of the earliest drivers that lead to the appearance of Alzheimer’s and cause very complex changes in the brain of the patient.
The scientists published the findings of their new study in the latest edition of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
According to the researchers, the latest findings suggest that diabetes, as well as other conditions that make it difficult to control the levels of blood sugar, can have damaging effects on the function of the brain and can contribute to the development of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Shannon Macauley, PhD, postdoctoral research scholar and one of the scientists who conducted the study, explained that the finding could help the researchers develop future treatments that could reduce the effects caused by blood sugar.
Diabetes makes it difficult for patients who suffer from this disease to control the glucose levels in their blood, which are known to increase after meals.
Because of this, diabetics use insulin and other types of special medication to keep the levels of blood sugar at a normal level.
In order to understand how an increased blood sugar contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s, the scientists infused glucose into the lab mice’s bloodstreams. The mice were specially bred to develop a condition that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers found that by doubling the level of glucose in the blood of young mice whose brains were not affected by amyloid plaques, increased the amyloid beta levels in their brain by about 20%.
When the researchers increased the levels of glucose in older mice whose brains were already affected by plaques, they found that the amyloid beta levels were up by 40%.
The scientists also found that a higher level of blood glucose actually increased the neurons’ activity and promoted the production of amyloid beta.
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