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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Alzheimer’s and Diabetes

There is no established link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes as yet, but that does not mean that the two are not related. We can say that insulin resistance does prevent brain cells from getting essential nutrition, and would therefore damage them. Brain malfunction could therefore result from poorly managed diabetes. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that even the best blood glucose control can prevent Alzheimer’s altogether.

A certain amount of memory loss is normal at any age: it is also a normal part of the ageing process. Only a doctor can tell if Alzheimer’s can begun to set in, and no spell of forgetfulness can be definitively linked with the disease.

We are left with troubling paradoxes. There is no conclusive proof on the possible relationships between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. We cannot tell on our own whether the dreaded losses of brain functions have begun to develop. What does one do?

1. Keep in mind that delaying or even preventing Alzheimer’s is a possible though unproven benefit of keeping blood glucose within the normal range, diabetes under control, and to shed extra weight.

2. An annual mental health evaluation will help a psychiatrist evaluate any worrisome loss of brain faculties, order tests, and plan for early intervention.

3. Mental exercises, just like physical ones for muscles, will help keep the brain in top gear.

There are many fun ways of exercising the mind everyday. Leave a post here or send me an email if you would like suggestions for exercising your memory, and keeping your cognitive abilities as sharp as possible.


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