Type II Diabetes = Alzheimer’s?

Need another reason to take a good hard look at your lifestyle?

The New Scientist article, “Eat Your Way to Dementia,” discusses some surprising research into the effect of insulin on the brain. We know that in Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, and/or the liver, fat, and muscle cells fail to respond to the insulin produced (insulin sensitivity).

What some scientists are saying is that insulin system problems also affects its activity in the brain, where it serves as a signaling hormone. ┬áRats fed a diet that included high-fructose corn syrup had “learning and memory problems after just 6 weeks, and their brains became less responsive to insulin.”

The article includes a graph of the rise of Type 2 diabetes over the last 30 years. It shows slow growth between 1980 and 1995, and then a steep curve to the present day. In other words, in 1980, about 2.5 out of 100 people (1 out of 40) people we knew had Type 2 diabetes. In 2010, about 7 out of 100 ( 1 out of 14) had diabetes–and there’s no reason to think the increase will slow any time soon.

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