February 1, 2012
Insulin Resistance Linked To Brain Health In Elderly
New research from Uppsala University shows that reduced insulin sensitivity is linked to smaller brain size and deteriorated language skills in seniors. The findings are now published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care.
The main hormonal function of insulin is to support the uptake and use of glucose in muscles and fat tissues. However, in an earlier article recently published in Molecular Neurobiology, Christian Benedict from the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University has reported that when insulin reaches the brain, it enhances memory function in humans. As insulin's capacity to stimulate glucose metabolism generally declines with age, it may also be that it affects the rate of cognitive aging in seniors.
"We found that in elderly whose insulin sensitivity was still high, the brains were larger, and they had more grey matter in regions that are important for language skills, compared with those who had diminished insulin sensitivity. We also observed that higher insulin sensitivity was associated with better scores on the language test. Our findings offer a possible explanation for why methods that improve insulin sensitivity, such as exercise, are promising strategies for counteracting cognitive aging late in life," says Christian Benedict.
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