High blood sugar may increase Alzheimer's risk

Previous research has shown a connection between Alzheimer's disease and insulin resistance, leading researchers to believe that the degenerative condition may be associated with diabetes.

But a new study from the University of Arizona suggests that people with high blood sugar levels – regardless of whether they have diabetes – might also be at risk for Alzheimer's.

Blood sugar and reduced brain metabolism

The study included 124 adults who were 47 to 68 years old. None of the participants had diabetes, and all showed normal brain function. However, each of the subjects did have a family history of Alzheimer's disease.

Through conducting brain scans, the researchers found that the participants who had high blood sugar levels also had patterns of lower metabolism in certain areas of the brain – a characteristic that Alzheimer's patients tend to exhibit.

"A lot of valuable research is focused on treatment and slowing decline in Alzheimer's patients," Christine Burn, a pre-doctoral student at the university and study author, said in a press release. "I'm interested in complementing this work with interventions that can be implemented earlier on, perhaps at middle age."

Alzheimer's facts

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5 percent of Americans aged 65 to 74 years have Alzheimer's. Causes of the condition tend to be complex but may include family history, diabetes and high blood pressure.

And while Burn's study didn't show a cause-and-effect relationship between high blood sugar and Alzheimer's, the association suggests that the subject warrants further investigation.

The study is published in the journal Neurology.

Source: US News Health

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