It was previously known that patients with diabetes run a higher risk of developing various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. This increased risk may be caused by a combination of the risk factors for cardiovascular disorders that this patient group has, including high blood pressure, high blood fats, heightened inflammatory activity, and high blood sugar.
Previously it was not know whether blood sugar alone could have a negative effect in people without diabetes, and it has also been unclear what part of the brain might be the most sensitive to high blood sugar levels. By analyzing 411 healthy people who took part in both Västerbotten Health Examinations and the Betula Project, the research team has been able to established that elevated blood sugar levels probably affect a specific part of the brain, the hippocampus, and especially in women. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that stores memories, and it is often the first part of the brain to be impacted with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study provides key information that can serve as a basis for further studies designed to examine how elevated blood sugar can affect the memory.
The research team consists of Olov Rolandsson, Anna Backeström, Sture Eriksson, and Göran Hallmans from Umeå University and Lars-Göran Nilsson, Stockholm University.
Reference: Rolandsson O, Backeström A, Eriksson S, Hallmans G, Nilsson LG, “Increased glucose levels are associated with episodic memory in nondiabetic women", Diabetes 2008;57:440-443
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