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Could Alzheimer's Be Type 3 Diabetes?

About a year ago, I told you about the first connections between insulin production and neurodegeneration, indicating Alzheimer's disease. New evidence has lead researchers to further speculate Alzheimer's could be its own form of diabetes.

Scientists replicated the progression of Alzheimer's disease by injecting rats with Streptozotocin, a compound that produces diabetes, into their brains, causing similar damage confined to that area while leaving pancreatic islet cells intact.

When rats were treated with that compound, insulin and its IGF-I receptors fell significantly, and their brains shrunk to roughly half their normal size. Conversely, the number of microglial cells and astrocytes -- both responsible for neuroinflammation -- rose, yet another feature of Alzheimer's.

Not so surprising, considering diabetes increases your risk of Alzheimer's (by 65 percent), as does obesity.

Fortunately, there are a number of protective measures you can take to protect your health from Alzheimer's and diabetes, without taking a drug:

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Vol. 9, No. 1

Forbes.com March 24, 2006

Science Blog March 23, 2006

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