Link found between diabetes and Alzheimer's

A new study from Washington University in St. Louis provides more evidence of a possible connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. This latest research found that elevated blood sugar levels in mice can significantly increase the amount of amyloid beta—a type of brain plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. The findings were published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Researchers injected sugar into the blood stream of mice genetically bred to develop an Alzheimer's-like condition. When the blood sugar levels in mice doubled, the mice without amyloid beta in their brains showed a 20 percent increase in amyloid beta. Older mice that already had some brain plaque showed a 40 percent increase in amyloid beta when their blood sugars were doubled.

The researchers also found that spikes in blood sugar increased the neuron activity in the brain, thus triggering amyloid beta production. Brain cells need to fire in order to transmit information, but excessive firing in certain parts of the brain can cause increased amyloid beta production and plaque buildup.

More research is being conducted by the team to explore this connection. The researchers hope that it could lead to future treatments to reduce the effect of diabetes on Alzheimer's.

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