Happy Friday morning. The sun is shining, there was a beautiful full moon (blood moon, hunter's moon) at 12:52 AM, and Boston's sports teams all seem to be in a good place right now.
On Wednesday evening I attended The 17th Annual Matthew & Marcia Simons Research Symposium on Alzheimer's Disease. From the alzmass.org web site, here is the announcement:
"Guest Speaker: Dr. Suzanne Craft, PhD Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
Food For Thought: Does Insulin Resistance Cause Alzheimer's Disease? Dr. Craft will speak about the relationship between insulin resistance and the development of cognitive impairment and dementia in older adults. In addition to her research on this topic, Dr. Craft's work also includes therapeutic strategies for reducing the risk of dementia. "
I took some notes which I will attempt to address coherently below. My apologies to Dr. Craft if I've gotten any of it wrong or missed writing down an important point.
1. Insulin is known to be related to aging of the body, now it is thought it may relate to brain aging in some people. It has an effect on memory.
2. Insulin resistance is a known factor in type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity. It is likely also a factor in Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
3. Insulin resistance is thought to be one of the critical pathways to AD. There is a 2- to 8-fold increased risk of AD w/insulin resistance. Insulin is shown to regulate beta-amyloid in rodents.
4. Chronic inflammation has toxic effects on the brain. Rosiglitazone is being tried. This is Avandia (tm) which may increase heart attack risk.
5. Intranasal insulin being tested - bypasses blood/brain barrier getting the insulin directly to the brain. Pioglitazone showed improved memory in 4 month study.
6. Exercising is the most potent insulin sensitivity intervention; not just for weight loss. The brain volume increased w/aerobics vs. just stretching in recent test.
7. Recommends, at age 50, oral glucose tolerance test to determine not only the usual glucose levels but also insulin levels (be sure to ask for the latter to be performed as it is not routine.) A 2 hour test is long enough to determine if insulin is being cleared.
8. Insulin degrading enzyme - clears amyloid if not a lot of insulin for it to work on.
9. Aspirin - potent insulin _________ (sorry, missed the word she used), may reduce the risk of developing diabetes; be sure to ask PCP before starting any aspirin regimen.
There is much more to be learned about this, but certainly sounds promising.
Thinking about #6, I now understand how it could be that I did not develop diabetes, even though I gained many pounds back in the 1990s and early 2000s. I was consistently taking 3 Jazzercise (tm) classes each week. Thanks to Judy and Shanna for keeping me healthy. I'm already planning to go to at least 2 a week now and am trying to walk on all other days I don't go to a class. Won't you join me in an exercise regime of your own?
Peace and good health,