18 August 2020
Kuopio, Finland – A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease provides insight into the association of blood markers of diabetes with brain beta-amyloid accumulation among older people at risk of dementia. The results suggest a link between Alzheimer’s pathology, lower levels of insulin, and lower insulin resistance.
The deposition of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain is known to be one of the key elements of Alzheimer’s disease and can begin years or even decades before the disease progresses to the dementia stage. Amyloid accumulation in the brain can be detected by PET scans.
Type 2 diabetes is a known risk factor for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, but the underlying mechanisms are still unknown. Autopsy studies have found that diabetes is associated with small vessel pathology typical of vascular dementia, but not specifically of Alzheimer’s disease. Insulin resistance, an indicator of a pre-diabetic state, has been associated with amyloid accumulation in cognitively normal middle-aged and late middle-aged individuals, but not in the older age groups.
In the present study, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland investigated the association of blood markers of diabetes with beta-amyloid accumulation detected in PET scans in older people at risk of dementia. The study population included 41 participants from the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER). FINGER has investigated the cognitive benefits of a multidomain lifestyle intervention for people over 60, who are at risk of cognitive decline.
Results from the study indicate slightly better insulin homeostasis in amyloid positive older individuals at risk of dementia. The findings contrast with earlier findings, possibly due to the fact that this study population was at high risk of cognitive decline. “The results could also suggest that in people with diabetes and vascular pathology, less amyloid accumulation in the brain may be needed to trigger the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia,” Associate Professor Alina Solomon from the University of Eastern Finland says.
“Interestingly, no association was found for amyloid deposition with fasting glucose levels or HbA1c, which measures the average level of blood sugar.”
This new study adds to the growing amount of data on the associations of insulin resistance and diabetes with Alzheimer’s disease pathology.
Due to its promising results, the FINGER study has expanded around the globe as part of the World Wide FINGERS research network, which has been setup to help execute lifestyle interventions for, and research into, cognitive impairment and dementia prevention. In the future, this will enable the replication of the results obtained in this study with larger populations and help gain further insight into the connections between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Full open access study: "Association of peripheral insulin resistance and other markers of type 2 diabetes mellitus with brain amyloid deposition in healthy individuals at risk of dementia" by Timo Pekkala, Anette Hall, Francesca Mangialasche, Nina Kemppainen, Patrizia Mecocci, Tiia Ngandu, Juha O. Rinne, Hilkka Soininen, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Miia Kivipelto & Alina Solomon, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Vol. 76, Iss.4 (DOI: 10.3233/JAD-200145). View freely available article at: content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad200145.
Alina Solomon, MD, PhD, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Neurology, Finland, +358 40 3552 015, email@example.com
Anette Hall, PhD, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Clinical Medicine/Neurology, Finland, +358 40 355 2385, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
Now in its 23rd year of publication, the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD) is an international multidisciplinary journal to facilitate progress in understanding the etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, genetics, behavior, treatment, and psychology of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes research reports, reviews, short communications, book reviews, and letters-to-the-editor. Groundbreaking research that has appeared in the journal includes novel therapeutic targets, mechanisms of disease, and clinical trial outcomes. JAD has a Journal Impact Factor of 3.909 according to Journal Citation Reports (Source: Clarivate, 2020). JAD is published by IOS Press. j-alz.com
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