While nobody knows exactly what causes the complex brain changes that lead to Alzheimer's disease, scientists suspect one of the drivers is the accumulation of plaques of a faulty protein called beta-amyloid. Now, a new study of mice shows how too much sugar in the blood can speed up the production of the protein.
"Earlier studies have pointed to diabetes - where the body fails to control high blood sugar naturally with insulin - as a possible contributor to Alzheimer's disease, but the new study links high blood sugar itself to beta-amyloid.
Researchers from the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) report their findings in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Lead author and postdoctoral research scholar Dr. Shannon Macauley says:
""Our results suggest that diabetes, or other conditions that make it hard to control blood sugar levels, can have harmful effects on brain function and exacerbate neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.""
She and her colleagues suggest their finding could lead to new treatment targets to reduce the harmful effects of high blood sugar on the brain."