Researchers find link between Alzheimer's and diabetes

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Researchers say they are getting closer to proving that Alzheimer's disease and Type 2 diabetes might be one illness.

University at Albany researchers think extra insulin can find its way to the brain and create masses of amyloid proteins that lead to the disruption of chemicals in the brain and eventually Alzheimer's.

The link was discovered in lab experiments on rats. The animals were fed high-fat diets that were conducive to Type 2 diabetes. Subsequently, the rats displayed significantly decreased memory as the diabetes progressed.

Examinations of the rats' brains showed the amyloid protein. The patterns were consistent with Alzheimer's sufferers.

Ewan C. McNay, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at University of Albany, believes amyloid protein masses occur because the body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin and produces more of the protein. The enzyme to break down the protein becomes overwhelmed and stops working,