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Scientists Discover Type 3 Diabetes, Linked To Alzheimer’s

W.L. Meyers | September 14th, 2012

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A new study from Washington University warns of the potential dangers that insulin in the brain may have on one’s health, noting that unhealthy insulin levels may result in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists who conducted the study investigated a condition they refer to as “type three diabetes,” in which the brain is exposed to high levels of insulin to the point where it stops responding to the hormone. This theory, if proven, would show that insulin levels in the brain operate much the way that insulin functions in the pancreas in patients who have type 2 diabetes.

As with type 2 diabetes, the high insulin levels and subsequent breakdown of the system linked to Alzheimer’s is the result of eating too much fatty and sugary foods, which ultimately results in the body’s failure to produce insulin at healthy levels. Though the study was conducted with only a small set of participants, future testing will help determine whether such dangerous fluctuations in insulin levels are correlated with the onset of Alzheimer’s.

In the study, patients who were given a nasal spray that contained insulin performed at higher cognitive levels. Additionally, another study performed on rats wherein researchers blocked insulin in the brain showed that the rats were more likely to suffer from patterns of deterioration, much like those associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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