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Helen is a registered dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. She has more than 20 years' experience working in the NHS, PR and the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Scientists are exploring the connection between Alzheimer’s disease and insulin resistance found in type 2 diabetes. After eating, the hormone insulin is released from the pancreas, whisking glucose out of the bloodstream and into the body’s cells.

But with insulin resistance, cells aren’t responsive to this process. So, over time, blood glucose levels remain high, together with higher levels of insulin, as more is pumped out in an attempt to lower the blood glucose. This results in type 2 diabetes.

brain scans alzheimers and insulin
Brain scans reveals the areas where there is no blood flow (shown in blue)

Lack of insulin

Research has found the brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s are frequently insulin resistant. As insulin promotes the healthy functioning of brain cells, scientists think resistance to it may play a key role in the way the disease develops – and this explains why people with diabetes are more predisposed to dementia.