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In a special issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers explore the possible ways in which Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes may be linked.
There have been many studies which show that both diseases share environmental risk factors: glucose intolerance, altered insulin signaling, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and inflammation.
Guest Editors Angelika Bierhaus and Peter P. Nawroth, both of the University of Heidelberg, present an overview for the many articles in the issue, exploring how the possible links between the two diseases might be tested for and exploited for therapy and prevention.
The links go both ways, people diagnosed with Alzheimer's or who have early symptoms show an increased risk of diabetes, and those with diabetes show a higher risk of Alzheimer's. It may be possible that the many blood tests available for diabetes risk can also help predict the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
The articles explore some of the known and testable risk factors for both diseases.
Heightened inflammation, detectable through blood tests of elements such as CRP, has shown itself to be a possible risk factor for both diseases, as has excess levels of iron in the blood. Impaired insulin response, another easily testable factor, is discussed as an element of increased risk for patients.
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