Alzheimer's disease and insulin
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 19, 2005
Insulin and its receptors drop significantly in the brain during the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and levels decline progressively as the disease becomes more severe, according to a study in the November Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
The new findings, the first to look at insulin levels early in the course of the disease, provide further evidence that Alzheimer's is a new type of diabetes, said the researchers from Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School. They had published work earlier this year that focused on the late stages of Alzheimer's.
"Insulin disappears early and dramatically in Alzheimer's disease. And many of the unexplained features of Alzheimer's, such as cell death and tangles in the brain, appear to be linked to abnormalities in insulin signaling," said senior author Suzanne M. de la Monte, MD, MPH, a neuropathologist at Rhode Island Hospital and a professor of pathology at Brown Medical School.
"This demonstrates that the disease is most likely a neuroendocrine disorder or another type of diabetes," she said. "In the most advanced stage of Alzheimer's, insulin receptors were nearly 80% lower than in a normal brain."
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/12/19/hlbf1219.htm.