Saturday, March 24, 2012

Brain insulin resistance contributes to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease

Brain insulin resistance contributes to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease

PHILADELPHIA – Insulin resistance in the brain precedes and contributes to cognitive decline above and beyond other known causes of Alzheimer's disease, according to a http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifnew study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Insulin is an important hormone in many bodily functions, including the health of brain cells. The team identified extensive abnormalities in the activity of two major signaling pathways for insulin and insulin-like growth factor in non-diabetic people with Alzheimer's disease. These pathways could be targeted with new or existing medicines to potentially help resensitize the brain to insulin and possibly slow down or even improve cognitive decline.

This is the first study to directly demonstrate that insulin resistance occurs in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The study is now online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"Our research clearly shows that the brain's ability to respond to insulin, which is important for normal brain function, is going offline at some point. Insulin in the brain not only modulates glucose uptake, but also promotes the health of brain cells – their growth, survival, remodeling, and normal functioning. We believe that brain insulin resistance may be an important contributor to the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease," said senior author, Steven E. Arnold, MD, professor of Psychiatry and Neurology.

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