Plaques in the brain are apparently linked with Alzheimer’s disease. A groundbreaking research holds the view that people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are at a heightened risk of developing such plaques. It is known that insulin resistance, or the stage before diabetes, happens when insulin, a hormone in the body, becomes less effective in lowering blood sugar.

In order to initiate the study, investigators enrolled 135 people with an average age of 67 years from Hisayama, Japan. The study subjects were made to undergo various diabetes glucose tests for measuring blood sugar levels. Also symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease were analyzed in the next 10 to 15 years. Having scrutinized the participants, it was revealed that approximately 16 percent developed Alzheimer’s disease. After the participants died, study authors inspected their autopsied brains for the physical signs of Alzheimer’s disease, known as plaques and tangles.

“Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are two epidemics growing at alarming levels around the world. With the rising obesity rates and the fact that obesity is related to the rise in type 2 diabetes, these results are very concerning,” enlightened Kensuke Sasaki, MD, PhD, with Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, study author.

The investigators noted that 16 percent participants developed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and 65 percent had plaques. It was also observed that volunteers reporting abnormal results on three tests of blood sugar control faced greater chances of developing plaques. 72 percent people with insulin resistance and 62 percent of people with no indication of insulin resistance supposedly developed plaques.

The authors did not discover any association between diabetes factors and tangles in the brain. However, further analysis is required for ascertaining if insulin resistance is a cause of the development of these plaques. There runs a possibility that by regulating and avoiding diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease can also be restricted.

The study was published in the August 25, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.