Late- to middle-aged people with elevated blood sugar levels, such as those associated with pre-diabetes, are more likely to perform poorly on performance and memory tests and are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than people without high blood sugar, a new study has found.
The findings aren’t earth shattering. Researchers have already determined that people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing dementia and other memory-related health conditions. The study is interesting because it delves into what may be causing that risk.
Researchers with the University of Wisconsin-Madison gave memory tests to 150 adults with no cognitive issues and an average age of 61. They also measured participants’ insulin resistance and had them undergo a PET brain scan.
Researchers found that insulin resistance was linked to poorer processing of sugar throughout the brain. Insulin helps the brain transmit messages between cells. The researchers said the study suggests that insulin resistance could increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease by altering the way the brain uses sugar.
Coincidentally, statin drugs like the widely popular Lipitor, which are used to lower cholesterol levels, have also been linked to cognitive impairment including dementia. Statins have also been shown to increase blood sugar levels to the point that some people have developed type 2 diabetes while using the drugs.
Source: Web MD