Keeping blood sugar in target may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s

In a recent panel discussion moderated by David Holtzman, Chairman of Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, researchers discussed the association between blood sugar and Alzheimer’s. It seems that keeping blood glucose in target may reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

“The risk for dementia is elevated about twofold in people who have diabetes or metabolic syndrome,” Holtzman says. “But what’s not been clear is, what’s the connection?”

To explore this link, one team experimented on two different groups of mice. In one group, they fed the mice only sugar and fat dense foods. In the other, they gave them a protein called ApoE2. ApoE2 positively affects glycolysis, which allows brain cells to turn sugar into energy. That increase in energy helps brain cells to get rid of toxins associated with Alzheimer’s.

After the treatments were put into place, the mice who were fed a high fat and sugar diet were more lethargic and developed memory loss. In contrast, the mice who were fed ApoE2 were much more energetic and their brains even seemed healthier than before.

What Holtzman and other researchers are discovering is that sugar and fat consumption and other factors such a sleep quality seem to have a real impact on the brains’ ability to function and may be associated with development of Alzheimer’s.

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