Type 2 Diabetes – Deficiency of A Brain Protein Linked With Early Brain Malfunction and Dementia

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor also referred to as BDNF, is a protein found in the central nervous system: the brain and spinal cord. It helps in the growth, maturation, and maintenance of nerve cells, and helps individual nerve cells that make up the brain, communicate with each other and is vital for both learning and memory. It is thought to help manage…

  • eating,
  • drinking,
  • body weight,
  • Type 2 diabetes, and
  • brain function.

In October of 2018, the journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism reported on a study from Quanzhou Hospital and Fujian Medical University in Quanzhou, China. Scientists there looked at slight brain malfunction, an early phase of dementia, in 715 people who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers found having low levels of BDNF raised the risk of initial brain malfunction by 275 percent. The link was stronger in those with obesity than in nonobese people with diabetes. The investigators concluded measuring levels of BDNF could be one way of discovering those people with diabetes at risk for developing dementia.

Research on BDNF is still in its early stages, so reliable ways to increase it are not known. Fortunately, many controllable risk factors for dementia are known.

Type 2 diabetes has been linked with a…

  • 47 percent higher risk of any type of dementia,
  • 39 percent higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and a
  • 138 percent higher risk of a condition called vascular dementia, a condition involving the blood vessels.

In November of 2017, the Miami Herald reported 80 percent of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease have at least some form of sugar intolerance, if not full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the following conditions are common in both Type 2 diabetes and dementia…

  • obesity,
  • heart disease,
  • a family history of heart disease,
  • blood vessel disease,
  • blood circulation problems,
  • high total cholesterol levels, and
  • high blood pressure.

The World Health Organisation lists Type 2 diabetes as well as the following as raising the risk of developing dementia…

  • having a sedentary lifestyle,
  • being obese,
  • eating an unhealthy diet,
  • age,
  • smoking tobacco,
  • drinking too much alcohol,
  • having high blood pressure,
  • having depression,
  • a low educational achievement,
  • being socially isolated, and
  • brain inactivity.

For obese individuals lowering their weight by even 5 percent can be helpful for controlling Type 2 diabetes and for helping to maintain general health. It could also help prevent dementia.

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