Apr 14, 2016

40 Percent of All Alzheimer's Cases Linked to Diabetes (Hyperinsulinemia)

The Connection Between Diabetes and Alzheimer's

The findings have significant implications for persons living with dementia, caregivers, and the overall Alzheimer's community.
Hyperinsulinemia leads to more than 40 percent of all Alzheimer's disease cases.

This according to a  new study published in the The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Hyperinsulinemia, which is most often caused by prediabetes, early or undiagnosed diabetes, or obesity, is responsible for almost half of all cases of Alzheimer's disease.

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Hyperinsulinemia is a condition in which there are excess levels of insulin circulating in the blood relative to the level of glucose. While it is often mistaken for diabetes or hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinemia can result from a variety of metabolic diseases and conditions.

The findings have significant implications for persons living with dementia, caregivers, and the overall Alzheimer's community. The findings of this study should be widely shared in the community; and, discussed with personal care doctors.

1. One-third of the US population is prediabetic yet doesn't know it. Testing exists and should be used.

2. All dementia patients should be immediately tested for glucose intolerance problems since intervention can slow or even reverse the disease.

3. The general population should regularly be tested for glucose tolerance, preferably with the hemoglobin A1c test, which doesn't require fasting.

4. The FDA should consider requiring food manufacturers to print the glycemic index of their products on their labels.
“What I’ve learned from my innovation research is that specialists can become trapped in the logic of their field, so new perspectives often come from outsiders. 
If we can raise awareness and get more people tested for hyperinsulinemia, especially those who have been diagnosed with or who are at risk for dementia, it could significantly lessen the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, as well as other diabetes-related health problems.”
- said Melissa A. Professor Schilling, study author.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that roughly 8.1 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes.

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Unraveling Alzheimer’s: Making Sense of the Relationship between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease 

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 961-977, 2016
Author: Melissa A. Schilling
Professor Schilling, is a strategy and innovation expert at the NYU Stern School of Business