Alzheimer's Is Type 3 Diabetes

The idea that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetic disease has been gaining currency in medical circles for almost ten years. The accumulated evidence is now so strong that many specialists are now comfortable referring to Alzheimer's as type 3 diabetes.


This shouldn't come as a surprise. Insulin doesn't merely signal the body's somatic cells to take up glucose; it also governs the brain's uptake of glucose. And glucose is what powers the brain. It's the brain's primary energy molecule.

We've known for some time that the brain itself makes a certain amount of insulin, and various parts of the brain are rich in insulin receptors. It's also well established that cognitive decline is correlated with both obesity and metabolic abnormalities involving insulin. (See, for example, the Whitehall II cohort study.) The connection between mental decline and diabetes was actually observed hundreds of years ago by physician Thomas Willis. (Also, in 1935, American psychiatrist William Claire Menninger posited the existence of "psychogenic diabetes" and described a "diabetic personality.") 

The smoking gun (arguably) for abnormalities in brain insulin as the precipitating factor for Alzheimer's Disease was the publication, in 2011, of the Hisayama Study. This study monitored 1017 initially disease-free patients for 15 years and found:

The age- and sex-adjusted incidence of all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease (AD), and vascular dementia (VaD) were significantly higher in subjects with diabetes than in those with normal glucose tolerance.

American physician David Perlmutter, in his book Grain Brain (2013, Little, Brown), lays the blame squarely on diet, saying "Brain dysfunction starts in your daily bread." He lays out a detailed case (backed up by numerous references to the scientific literature) for eating more fats and cholesterol (yes, more cholesterol) and cutting gluten from your diet entirely, pointing to (among others) studies that have linked low cholesterol to cognitive impairment.  (The latter is, in fact, from the Framingham Heart Study.)

Not everyone is ready to believe gluten is the root of all evil. But there's no longer any question that obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer's are now firmly linkedin the scientific literature. To fix one, we will very likely need to fix all three.

If you found this post useful, please share it with someone. Thank you!

Ethnic chauvinism: Why the whole world shouldn’t look like America

We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.

Videos
  • When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
  • American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
  • We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Keep reading Show less

Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less