For decades, the progressive damage to brain cells and the connections between them that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease has been associated with abnormalities in two brain proteins: clumps of the protein fragment beta-amyloid into plaques and twisted strands of the protein tau into tangles. Over the past decade, scientists have been getting closer to a better understanding of why the brain develops these hallmark changes. Among the contributing causes, as reviewed in a recently released online article May 2016 in the journal Physiology & Behavior is accumulating evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is a metabolic disease—a disease of how the brain responds to insulin, utilizes glucose, and metabolizes energy. Alzheimer’s disease may be a form of diabetes of the brain.
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