New links found between diabetes blood markers and Alzheimer's disease pathology

August 18, 2020

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.
-end-
For further information, please contact:

Alina Solomon, MD, PhD, University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Neurology, +358 40 3552 015, alina.solomon (a) uef.fi

Research article:

Timo Pekkala, Anette Hall, Francesca Mangialasche, Nina Kemppainen, Patrizia Mecocci, Tiia Ngandu, Juha O. Rinne, Hilkka Soininen, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Miia Kivipelto & Alina Solomon. Association of peripheral insulin resistance and other markers of type 2 diabetes mellitus with brain amyloid deposition in healthy individuals at risk of dementia. JAD Vol 76 Issue (4). Published online 18 August 2020. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-200145

University of Eastern Finland

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.