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Type 2 Diabetes Linked to More Alzheimer’s Neuropathology

Effect may be driven by tau phosphorylation, researchers say

THURSDAY, Sept. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) may be more prone to developing the neuropathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published online Sept. 2 in Neurology.

Velandai Srikanth, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., a geriatrician at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues based their findings on 124 older adults with T2DM and 692 without the disease. Some had Alzheimer’s, others had mild cognitive impairment, and others had normal cognition. All of the study participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging, and about half had samples taken of their cerebrospinal fluid to measure levels of β-amyloid and tau proteins.

Overall, individuals with diabetes had lower bilateral frontal and parietal cortical thickness. Those with T2DM also had higher levels of tau protein in their cerebrospinal fluid.

“T2DM may promote neurodegeneration independent of Alzheimer’s disease dementia diagnosis, and its effect may be driven by tau phosphorylation,” the authors write. “The mechanisms through which T2DM may promote tau phosphorylation deserve further study.”

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