In a recent interview with Barbara Brody, a seasoned medical reviewer, we delved into the concept of "Type 3 Diabetes." This term doesn't signify a distinct form of diabetes but rather encapsulates the proposed relationship between insulin resistance and Alzheimer's disease. As we navigate the complexities of Alzheimer's development, it becomes evident that the brain's insulin signaling plays a pivotal role, giving rise to what some term "diabetes of the brain."
Alzheimer's, the most prevalent form of dementia, involves the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain. However, it's a multifactorial condition, and emerging research suggests that insulin signaling in the brain may be a crucial factor, potentially giving rise to what is colloquially referred to as "Type 3 Diabetes" or, more aptly, "diabetes of the brain."
I want to clarify that "Type 3 Diabetes" is not to be confused with Type 3C Diabetes, which is a distinct form resulting from severe pancreatic damage or removal, often due to cancer. The focus here is on the brain's insulin functionality, not bloodstream issues.
During our discussion, we explored risk factors, diagnosis possibilities, symptoms, and the current state of treatment and prevention. While "Type 3 Diabetes" is not yet an officially recognized medical term, we discussed the potential for exploration through imaging tests like FDG-PET, which assess glucose metabolism in the brain.
Symptoms associated with "Type 3 Diabetes" mirror those of Alzheimer's, emphasizing the importance of early evaluation and consideration of reversible causes. Although direct treatment for this condition is not available, ongoing research offers hope for future breakthroughs, especially regarding the use of diabetes drugs in Alzheimer's treatment.
In terms of prevention, lifestyle changes such as adopting a Mediterranean-style diet, reducing refined carbs, managing diabetes effectively, and incorporating daily walks have shown promise in positively impacting insulin-related cognitive health.
Read more about the interview here in detail.
Domenico Praticò, MD, holds the position of the Scott Richards North Star Charitable Foundation Chair for Alzheimer’s Research and serves as a Professor and the Director at the Alzheimer’s Center at Temple, as well as a Professor of Pharmacology at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.