Further evidence has been found that Alzheimer’s disease may actually be a third form of diabetes, according to researchers at Northwestern University.
The insulin and insulin receptors in your brain are essential for learning and memory, and these components are known to be weaker in people with Alzheimer’s disease. In your brain, insulin binds to an insulin receptor at a synapse, triggering a mechanism that allows nerve cells to survive and form memories.
Northwestern University researchers have found that a toxic protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients – called ADDL for “diffusible ligand derived from amyloid ß” – suppresses insulin receptors in cells nerves and makes these neurons resistant to insulin.
The results suggest that ADDLs accumulate early in Alzheimer’s disease and thus block memory function.
The process is currently believed to be reversible.
The researchers hypothesized that the drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes, which also causes insulin resistance, could “replace currently available Alzheimer’s disease drugs.”