AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 1, 2018


Study Links Brain Tangles and Diabetes Independently of Alzheimer’s Disease

According to a study recently published in the journal Neurology, diabetes may be linked to the buildup of tangles in the brain, separate from those associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study was based on data from the U.S. Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. It analyzed the relationship between type 2 diabetes, the loss of brain cells and their connections, the levels of beta-amyloid and tangles of protein in the spinal fluid of the participants. The study aimed to understand how diseases like diabetes may directly or indirectly affect brain cell death, using 816 people of an average age of 74. Of those participants, 397 had mild cognitive impairment, 191 had Alzheimer’s disease, 228 had no memory and thinking problems and 124 had diabetes. Results of the study showed that greater levels of tau in spinal fluid may reflect a greater buildup of brain tangles. Those in the study with diabetes had 16 picograms per milliliter of tau in their spinal and brain fluid regardless of whether they had been diagnosed with dementia. The study also found that a reduced thickness of the cortex was also associated with diabetes. Regardless of the presence of thinking and memory problems, mild cognitive impairment or dementia as a result of Alzheimer’s disease, people with diabetes had cortical tissue that was an average of 0.03 millimeters less than those who did not have the condition, which may eventually contribute to the development of dementia. To read more about this study, click here.


Second International Brain Mapping Course
April 26-27, 2018; New Orleans

Surgical Approaches to Skull Base
April 26-28, 2018; St. Louis, MO

2018 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting
April 28-May 2, 2018; New Orleans

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