That title sure grabbed my attention and if you’re reading this, I’ll assume it did yours too. So let’s get down to it.
Why is the research saying Alzheimer’s is type 3 diabetes? Because the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s and diabetes are similar. In an Alzheimer’s brain you’ll see “cell loss; abundant neurofibrillary tangles; dystrophic neurites; amyloid precursor protein, amyloid beta deposits; increased activation of prodeath genes and signaling pathways; impaired energy metabolism; mitochondrial dysfunction; chronic oxidative stress; and DNA damage.” Research hasn’t divulged how exactly all those things are interrelated; however, the key to the diabetes connection is the “impaired energy metabolism” and “mitochondrial dysfunction.” What they mean there is the Alzheimer’s brain shows signs of difficulty using it’s main energy source– glucose. Which is just like what happens in diabetes. Diabetes I and II have more acute global effects throughout the body. They’re hypothesizing that Alzheimer’s is a new diabetes type– type 3– that insidiously depletes the brain in function and volume.
An important question then is, does diabetes type I or II lead to Alzheimer’s/diabetes type III? So far, it’s looking like a no. While type II does lead to some cognitive deficits, it doesn’t look the same as Alzheimer’s/type III.
Another good question was can directly inducing “brain diabetes” look like Alzheimer’s? It sure does. And the good news is that it is also reversible with the same drugs currently used to treat type I and type II diabetes.
So what does all that mean for you, me and Joe Schmoe Patient? Prevention. Diabetes type II is a lifestyle disease, so perhaps diabetes type III/Alzheimer’s will also reveal itself as a lifestyle disease… or at least be modifiable with lifestyle changes. Those modifications include mostly dietary changes which is basically the glycemic index diet. (This links to a nice e-book on the subject.) Everyone under the sun really should be on a diet if not exactly like the glycemic index diet, pretty similar. Yes, that includes you. And me. Shoot.