by Tory Davis
- While the theory that Alzheimer’s is actually a diet-based form of diabetes has been floating around the medical community since 2005, a story published in the September 2012 issue of New Scientist, “Food for Thought: What You Eat May Be Killing Your Brain,” makes the idea hard to refute (Opinionator.blogs.NYTimes.com, 25 September 2012).
- Diabetes Type 1 is purely genetic and only accounts for 10% of all cases, while Type 2 is a result of lifestyle habits like diet and exercise and is completely preventable. About a third of Americans have Type 2 diabetes, or are pre-diabetic. As regular diabetes is a result of insulin resistance in the body, research now shows that when the cells in the brain become insulin-resistant it causes memory loss, disorientation and aspects of the self to be lost, i.e., Alzheimer’s disease.
- People with diabetes are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s; obesity itself increases the risk of impaired brain function.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- News that Alzheimer’s is a preventable form of diabetes is both good and frightening news. On the one hand, it means that the solution is within consumers’ reach: Consistent efforts to eat healthier, whole foods and exercise regularly give them great odds against contracting the disease. But for already-obese children and adults, the news gets added to an already long list of potentially life-threatening health problems.
- The obesity pandemic costs $150 billion annually in healthcare-related expenditures. Alzheimer’s is a wildly expensive disease to treat and manage, and incidences are expected to increase over the next 40 years. It’s imperative that consumers be encouraged to stay healthy and fit — if only government, businesses and consumer groups could agree on how.