Study strengthens diabetes-Alzheimer's link

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Washington University School of Medicine researchers believe they have found closer definitive links between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease after discovering elevated blood glucose levels stimulate the chemical culprit in the formation of AD's characteristic brain “plaques.”

While the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer's has long been suspected and studied, the newly discovered link could help researchers develop treatments that reduce the harmful effects of elevated blood sugar on brain function, lead author Shannon Macauley, Ph.D., told reporters.

The research was published in Monday's online issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Macauley and colleagues determined that elevated blood sugar causes rapid production of amyloid beta, a fundamental component of brain plaques, which are believed to lead to the complex changes in an Alzheimer victim's brain.