Study finds link between obesity, type 2 diabetes and neurodegeneration

Sep 04, 2008

New research from Rhode Island Hospital found that obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) can contribute to mild neurodegeneration with features common with Alzheimer's disease (AD) – the first study to show that obesity can cause neurodegeneration. The study appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease Volume 15:1 (September 2008) .

In a study on animal models, lead researcher Suzanne de la Monte, MD, MPH, of Rhode Island Hospital, utilized chronic high fat diets to cause a two-fold increase in mean body weight. In these animal models, there was a marginally reduced mean brain weight and a significantly reduced mean brain weight/body weight ratio, providing evidence that obesity with T2DM is sufficient to cause mild global atrophy in the brain.

De la Monte says, "In essence, the brain shrinks and several biochemical and molecular abnormalities found in patients with AD, including brain insulin resistance, develop with chronic obesity and T2DM. However, the extent of the abnormalities in no way matches AD." Researchers note that the neuropathological abnormalities were mild and the associated brain insulin resistance could serve as a co-factor in the development and progression of AD.

Overall, the study found that that the effects of obesity and T2DM can essentially aggravate or contribute to the severity or progression of AD, but cannot be the sole cause of the condition. The findings suggest that strategies to reduce obesity and prevent or control T2DM could modify the clinical course of mild cognitive impairment and AD.

De la Monte also notes, "We don't know yet if these effects of T2DM/obesity are reversible with weight loss. However, we're fairly sure that the abnormalities are related to the T2DM that accompanies obesity and not just increased weight."

Source: Lifespan

Explore further: Ebola: timeline of a ruthless killer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ebola: timeline of a ruthless killer

9 hours ago

Here are key dates in the current Ebola epidemic, the worst ever outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever which first surfaced in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

Jan 31, 2015

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

Jan 30, 2015

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.