Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Diabetes: type 1, 2 or 3?

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We've long known about Type 1 diabetes. Most people know about Type 2 diabetes, too. But would you believe it's possible that a discovery may warrant a Type 3 diabetes? Researchers have discovered that the suppression of insulin signaling in the brain raises the possibility of a Type 3 diabetes.

Researchers have known for some time that insulin is not just produced in the pancreas, but also in the thymus. It is also known that insulin resistance, a characteristic of Type 2 diabetes, is tied to neurodegeneration. While scientists have suspected a link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, this is the first study to provide evidence of that connection. The study identified a gene abnormality that blocks insulin signaling in the brain. A drop in insulin production in the thymus contributes to the degeneration of specific regions of the brain. These abnormalities do not correspond to Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, but reflect a different and more complex disease process that originates in the CNS (central nervous system). This raises the possibility of a Type 3 diabetes.

Those who suffered from Alzheimer's disease had a deficiency of growth factor in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for memory. The absence of these growth factors causes cells in other parts of the brain to die. Reserachers found that insulin was significantly reduced in the areas of the brain responsible for reasoning, planning, speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving. Researchers conclude that there is a genuine need for comprehensive study of the neuropathological changes associated with diabetes treatment and the affects of specific medications on insulin signaling. I agree with the researchers!

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