Managing diabetes could help prevent dementia: Indian-origin researcher in US

Diabetes and Alzheimer's are two of the fastest-growing health concerns globally. Image courtesy: pathdoc/Shutterstock

New Delhi: In a significant observation an Indian-origin scientist in the US established a link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. Narendra Kumar in his research has found that reducing the risk of dementia in Alzheimer's is possible by keeping diabetes well controlled or avoiding it in the first place.

Kumar, an associate professor at the US-based Texas A&M University, who led the study published in the journal 'American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology', said that "by taking preventative or amelioration measures for diabetes, we can prevent or at least significantly slow down the progression of the symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer's disease," he said.

Diabetes and Alzheimer's are two of the fastest-growing health concerns globally. Diabetes alters the body's ability to turn food into energy and affects an estimated one in 10 US adults. Alzheimer’s is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the US, according to the study. The researchers investigated how diet might affect the development of Alzheimer's in people with diabetes.

They discovered that a high-fat diet reduces the expression of a specific protein in the gut called Jak3. Mice without this protein showed a chain of inflammation from the intestine to the liver and then to the brain. As a result, the mice displayed Alzheimer's-like symptoms in the brain, along with cognitive impairment.

The researchers believe that the pathway from the gut to the brain involves the liver. "Liver being the metaboliser for everything we eat, we think that the path from gut to the brain goes through the liver," Kumar said.

They have been studying the functions of Jak3 for a long time and have found that changes in the expression of Jak3 due to food can lead to leaky gut, resulting in chronic inflammation, diabetes, reduced brain ability to clear toxic substances, and dementia-like symptoms seen in Alzheimer's disease.
(With inputs from IANS)

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