30 August 2012
Alzheimer’s linked to unhealthy diet
New tests have found that there could be a link between insulin and the development of Alzheimer’s. This means that an unhealthy diet, which contains too much sugary and fatty food, could be a cause of the condition.
It is thought the way the brain is affected by this diet could be similar to the way in which type two diabetes affects the muscles and liver. By exposing the brain to too much insulin we could be preventing it doing its job, which can result in an inability to create new memories.
A small study at Washington University found that patients who were given a nasal spray containing insulin were better at remembering details and had longer attention spans. A further test of this will be conducted on 240 participants who are showing early signs of dementia. The further testing will enable scientists to come up with more concrete conclusions.
Brown University conducted a study on rats. They blocked the insulin from the brains and found that it made them more disorientated and unable to find their way through a maze. Their brains showed the same deterioration pattern as those of humans living with Alzheimer’s.
If these tests are correct, then it may mean that eating healthier foods and taking regular exercise could mean a lower risk of developing the condition and even reverse the early stages of the disease.
Dr Suzanne de la Monte, who led the study, said, “I believe Alzheimer’s starts with insulin resistance. If you can avoid brain diabetes you’ll be fine. But once it gets going you are going to need to attack on multiple fronts.”