April 9, 2008 / 8:41 PM / 11 years ago

Low insulin linked to Alzheimer's disease risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Impaired insulin response appears to be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to findings from a long-term population-based study conducted in Sweden.

Dr. Elena Uronema and colleagues at Upscale University analyzed data for 2,269 men who underwent glucose (blood sugar) tolerance testing at 50 years of age. After a follow-up at an average of 32 years, 394 men developed dementia or mental impairments, including 102 with confirmed Alzheimer’s disease and 57 with confirmed vascular dementia.

A low insulin response to intravenous glucose at the beginning of the study was associated with a 30 percent higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ronne AA’s group notes that an impaired insulin response is a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease. The risk, however, was not statistically significant only from subjects negative for the high-risk APOE-4 gene.

In contrast, impaired glucose tolerance was associated with vascular dementia, but not Alzheimer’s disease.

Overall dementia and cognitive risk was associated with high fasting serum insulin, insulin resistance, impaired insulin secretion, and glucose intolerance in subjects without dementia.

The study findings stress the importance of short- term and insulin, both were associated with short- and long-term exposure in the normal brain,” researchers conclude.

SOURCE: Neurology, April 9, 2008. (Online)

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