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J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;16(4):693-704. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1022.

Adiposity, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.


This manuscript provides a comprehensive review of the epidemiologic evidence linking the continuum of adiposity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The mechanisms relating adiposity and T2D to AD may include hyperinsulinemia, advanced products of glycosylation, cerebrovascular disease, and products of adipose tissue metabolism. Elevated adiposity in middle age is related to a higher risk of AD but the data on this association in old age is conflicting. Several studies have shown that hyperinsulinemia, a consequence of higher adiposity and insulin resistance, is also related to a higher risk of AD. Hyperinsulinemia is a risk factor for T2D, and numerous studies have shown a relation of T2D with higher AD risk. The implication of these associations is that a large proportion of the world population may be at increased risk of AD given the trends for increasing prevalence of overweight, obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and T2D. However these associations may present a unique opportunity for prevention and treatment of AD. Several studies in the prevention and treatment of T2D are currently conducting, or have planned, cognition ancillary studies. In addition, clinical trials using insulin sensitizers in the treatment or prevention of AD are under way.

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