As we age, our brain has a harder time dealing with distractions. Brains get stronger by eliminating distractions rather than pushing to overcome them.
Could Alzheimer’s disease actually be a form of diabetes in the brain?
A recent issue of New Scientist posed the theory in a cover story illustrated with an ominous image of a cracked chocolate brain.
“It is well known that bad diets can trigger obesity and diabetes,” the magazine warned in an editorial. “There is growing evidence that they trigger Alzheimer’s disease too, and some researchers now see it as just another form of diabetes.”
Chief among those researchers is Brown University neuropathologist Suzanne de la Monte, who found that in Alzheimer’s disease, the brain’s ability to metabolize sugar is reduced, creating what she calls “diabetes in the brain.”
“Consequently, the brain cells practically starve to death,” she said.
De la Monte turned to statistical evidence to look for a cause, and found a connection: a fivefold increase (from 1970 to 2005) in U.S. consumption of fast food and processed meats and, over the same period of time, a fivefold increase in rates of Alzheimer’s, diabetes and fatty liver disease among people 55 and older.
De la Monte blames the high-fat, high-sugar, highly processed American diet, and in particular, nitrites, an additive used in meats and processed foods for flavor and coloring.
Nitrites are converted to nitrosamines in the body, according to de la Monte, and “we have reasonable evidence that human exposure to nitrosamines is at the root cause of not only Alzheimer’s but several other insulin-resistance diseases, including Type 2 diabetes,” she said.
Dr. John Hart, medical science director for the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas, says de la Monte’s theory is intriguing, but researchers aren’t yelling “Eureka!” just yet. He thinks it’s just one possible piece of the Alzheimer’s puzzle.
“There are other factors that we are chasing down, and have been chasing down for years, including this one, as possible treatment options,” Hart says. Genetics seems to play a role in Alzheimer’s, as does inflammation, he said, adding that most researchers suspect that the disease may be “multifactorial.”Continue Reading >>