Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Does Alzheimer's cause diabetes?

Kudos to a cautious article in the NYT which is careful to write that a study "links" Diabetes and Alzheimer's, without saying it's a diabetes -> Alzheimer's relationship -- even though the study director thinks it is. Note this quote:
Studies Link Diabetes to Risk of Alzheimer’s - New York Times

... More recently, though, scientists have begun to think that the diseases are connected in other ways as well. In both, destructive deposits of amyloid, a type of protein, build up: in the brain in Alzheimer’s, in the pancreas in Type 2 diabetes...
Which leaves open the possibility that a defect related to amyloid accumulation underlies some cases of both beta cell failure and neuronal failure. At one point islet cells where thought to derive from neural crest tissue, but that appears to have been disproven. Alas, the origin of stem cells is rather a popular topic and hard to approach in a quick google search ... Certainly a connection to the cells afflicted by Alzheimer's would support a shared etiology ...

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