Study links brain tangles and diabetes independently of Alzheimer's
According to a new study published in the journal Neurology, diabetes may be linked to the buildup of "tangles" in the brain, separate from Alzheimer's disease.
The study was based on data from the US Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. It looked at the relationship between type 2 diabetes and the loss of brain cells and their connections, the levels of beta-amyloid and tangles of protein in the spinal fluid of the participants.
Beta-amyloid are plaques on the brain that are a principal feature of Alzheimer's disease, while tangles are the abnormal twisting of the cellular filaments that hold the neuron in its proper shape. These tangles are caused by an aberrant form of a protein known as tau.
Study author Dr. Velandai Srikanth, an associate professor and specialist senior geriatrician within neurosciences at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, says that "evidence shows that people with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of developing dementia."
The study aimed to understand how diseases like diabetes may directly or indirectly affect brain cell death. It involved 816 people of an average age of 74.
Of those included in the study, 397 had mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 191 had Alzheimer's disease, 228 had no memory and thinking problems and 124 had diabetes.