Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, which is an umbrella term used to describe a set of neurodegenerative diseases that affect memory and behavior. This fatal disease has a prolonged preclinical and prodromal phase that averages 20 years. The DSM-IV criteria for dementia listed are the inability to speak coherently or understand spoken or written language, recognize objects, be able to perform motor activities if the patient had motor abilities before diagnosis, think abstractly, make sound judgments, and plan and carry out complex tasks. Alzheimer’s disease has a prevalence of 10%-30% in populations 65 years old and above.
There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease: sporadic and familial. The sporadic form of Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, which is characterized by its late onset between 80-90 years old and the inability to clear toxic amyloid-β peptide from the crevices of the brain. The familial form of Alzheimer’s disease is rather rare, making up > 1% of reported Alzheimer’s cases. It is also known as autosomal dominant inherited Alzheimer’s disease (DIAD). This form is most common among 40-50 year olds. This is characterized by mutations in genes that are responsible for clearing toxic amyloid-β peptide.
However, scientists have noticed that those who suffer from the sporadic form of the disease also suffer from type 2 diabetes. The mechanism for this form has been linked to amyloid-β peptide and its oligomers disrupting insulin signaling in the brain. This disruption of insulin, which is also characteristic of type 2 diabetes, is responsible for the neurodegenrative symptoms experienced with Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information on how Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes are linked, please look over the following pages:
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