New Discovery on Links Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes
A new study has indicated that elevated blood sugar levels can result in the increase of levels of amyloid beta which is a major component of brain plaques in patients that have Alzheimer’s. The cognitive changes that are caused by Alzheimer’s disease is though to be the result of buildup of plaques in the brain.
The results of the study have indicated that there is a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease which could help in the creation of future treatments for the disease. The study was lead by Shannon Macauley, a postdoctoral research scholar at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
People that suffer from diabetes have trouble with controlling blood sugar levels. They often rely on injections of insulin or other diabetes medications in order to manage blood sugar levels so that they do not fall outside of the normal range.
In this study, the researchers worked with mice that had been bred to develop an Alzheimer’s-like condition. The results of the study indicated that spikes in blood glucose levels resulted in the increase of neuron activity in the brain. The production of amyloid beta was increased as a result of this activity. The increase in amyloid beta production ultimately resulted in the formation of more amyloid plaques.
The researchers then injected the mice with a diabetes drug that is designed to treat low blood sugar by raising glucose levels. The findings indicated that KATP channels are directly responsible for the increased levels of amyloid beta production. As a result the researchers believe that there are direct links between KATP channels and glucose, neuronal activity, and amyloid beta levels.