Finding suggests people may be able to prevent Alzheimer's disease

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TOKYO — A team of Kyushu University researchers has discovered that people at risk of diabetes have a tendency to develop pigmented spots on the brain, which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

The team, led by neuropathologist Prof. Toru Iwaki, found that people whose blood glucose levels tend to remain high after meals also tend to develop the lesions, which are typically found in the elderly.

The finding suggests people may be able to prevent themselves from developing Alzheimer’s disease by working to prevent diabetes through exercise and careful eating habits.

The team analyzed data provided by a long-term study on residents in Hisayamamachi, Fukuoka Prefecture. It examined the relationship between diabetes risk factors and the brain lesions in 135 men and women whose average age was 79.5, who were examined in 1988 and died between 1998 and 2003.

Brain lesions were found in 88 of those examined. Patients who experienced elevated blood glucose levels after meals were 1.7 times more likely to develop the spots, according to the findings. Examinees genetically predisposed to high blood sugar levels were 38 times more likely to develop the brain spotting than those not predisposed.