New research has indicated that an impairment in the insulin signaling of the brain, presented as a feature of diabetes, can negatively impact the mood, metabolism, and cognition. All of these are considered as common aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.
The two conditions described above seem to be independent of each other but a few earlier studies do indicate how people with diabetes type 2 are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the mechanisms through which this occurs has remained hidden.
A recent investigation has indicated the effect of blocking the insulin receptors as well as the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) in mouse models. The results revealed that disturbing this pathway caused an impairment in memory and learning,
The findings of the study can be found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Insulin Receptors and their Link to Learning
The researchers particularly focused on the central amygdala and the hippocampus, the areas of the brain associated with metabolic control and cognitive functions. They investigated how the mice with disabled IGF1 and insulin receptors tacked mazes and the results were astonishing.
The researchers allowed the mice to go about the maze in order to familiarize themselves with its layout. They then blocked a pathway before they reintroduced the mice to the labyrinth. These particular mice were unable to analyze the labyrinth and tried going through the maze as it has been previously.
This study has been regarded as one of its kind as it studied the relationship between cognitive problems and disrupted pathways. These receptors compensate for one another and what the scientists did was a knockout of both IGF and insulin receptors combined.
However, this is also important to do it in specific regions only. By knocking out both types of receptors, the scientists removed the primary way of functioning as well as the backup system that’s is built in them naturally.
Alzheimer ’s disease is Not a Part of Normal Aging
Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia, a condition in which the person is experiencing a loss of memory in addition to other cognitive issues severe enough to interfere with daily life.
This condition is not a normal part of aging. While most of the people who get it are over 65 years of age, it may also affect the younger lot.
Alzheimer’s does not seem to get better over time. In most of the cases, it worsens until the patient completely loses its ability to converse or respond to what’s happening around them.
The disease has no definite cure. However, there are certain treatments that may slow down the progression and improve the overall quality of life.
Certain risk factors commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease have been indicated by the scientists. Some of them are the factors that cannot be controlled like family history, age, and genetics. A few of them can be controlled by people including heart diseases and head injuries.
Additionally, other conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, and diseases that cause vascular damage can also increase the risk associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Diabetes as a Risk Factor
Diabetes is a well-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. As it involves disruption of the insulin pathway, a cognitive decline and related problems like anxiety, depression, and dementia kick in.