Science has known for years that Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes
are connected, but new research from Albany University suggests the mechanism by which the association forms implicates Alzheimer’s as a product of late-stage diabetes, due to the way increased insulin production stops destructive amyloid plaques from getting broken down.
The research team presented its findings, which are still in the preliminary stages, at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. Through their investigation, the team found that because type 2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease — causes people’s bodies to overproduce insulin, as a result of high blood glucose, the excess insulin trickles into the brain. Once there, it disrupts a key enzyme that normally erases amyloid plaques, a build-up of which scientists have suspected leads to Alzheimer’s. Without this erasure, the plaques accumulate and cognitive decline follows.