When you think that you know about diabetes – there comes type 3 diabetes on the scene. This new type of diabetes, discovered in 2005 as a result of alzheimer’s disease research, is associated with brain insulin.
It is believed that the brain produces a small quantity of insulin and that diabetes type 3 is as a result of the brain producing lower than normal levels of brain insulin.
Why is brain insulin needed?
The pancreas is not the only organ in the body that produces insulin, it was discovered. The brain also produces insulin and this brain insulin and its related growth factors and receptors are vital for the survival of brain cells.
The brain needs brain insulin to keep making new brain cells and convert glucose into energy. Without this vital insulin hormone the brain cells will die.
In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, the cells that die are located in the part of the brain involved with memory, called the hippocampus.
It is thought that if you already suffer from diabetes mellitus Type 1 or diabetes mellitus type 2 you are sixty five percent (65%) more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Actually many alzheimer’s disease sufferers also suffer from diabetes mellitus. Some researchers even suggested that there might be some sort of link between diabetes type 3 and the infamous alzheimer’s disease.
How different is type 3 diabetes (or alzheimer’s disease) from diabetes mellitus?
Brain insulin is not affected by the level of glucose in the blood as with the other diabetes types.
In diabetes mellitus is brought about when the pancreas does not produce the required amount of insulin that is needed by the body in order to maintain blood glucose levels within normal range.
The new type of diabetes (diabetes type 3) is brought about when the brain produces lower than normal levels of brain insulin.
It is also believed that if you already suffer from diabetes mellitus Type 1 or diabetes mellitus type 2 you are sixty five percent (65%) more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease as well. Actually many alzheimer’s sufferers do also suffer from diabetes mellitus.
Lower than normal levels of insulin in type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes sufferer lead to hyperglycemia. If untreated will lead to diabetic complications affecting the limbs, the eyes, the kidneys, the heart and other major organs. While lower than normal level of brain insulin causes brain cells to die.
The researchers have also discovered that many type 2 diabetics have deposits of a protein in their pancreas which is similar to the protein deposits found in the brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
By looking at rodents and post-mortem brain tissue from people with Alzheimer’s disease Dr Suzanne de la Monte and her research team have found that – insulin and its related proteins are actually produced in the brain and the reduced levels of both are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.