Study finds high levels of glucose in the brain is linked to dementia

Too much sugar in your diet could cause obesity, diabetes and, now, dementia.

Study finds high levels of glucose in the brain is linked to dementia

It’s common knowledge that too much sugar in your diet can lead to obesity and diabetes. Studies have also found that artificial sweeteners put people at risk of brain disease, with one ‘diet’ drink a day enough to triple your risk of a deadly stroke.

A new study now shows that too much glucose in the brain could also be linked to dementia.

The UK study examined the brains of Alzheimer’s patients after they had died. Researchers found a link between abnormalities in how the brain breaks down glucose and the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  

“While these results clearly show that abnormalities in brain glucose metabolism are linked to Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis, they suggest a more complex relationship between levels of blood glucose and Alzheimer’s symptoms in early stages of the disease,” said Dr Madhav Thambisetty of the National Institute of Aging.

“Thus, while we found significant abnormalities in glucose breakdown in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's, the exact reasons for these abnormalities remain to be understood.

“Understanding this relationship in future studies is important in establishing optimal blood glucose levels to reduce Alzheimer’s risk in older individuals.”

Scientists studied the blood glucose levels in study participants years before they died, to try to track a process called glycolysis.

They found that greater brain glucose levels at death and lower enzyme activity controlling key glycolysis steps were more likely to lead to dementia, as well as more severe Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain and development of symptoms.

“For some time, researchers have thought about the possible links between how the brain processes glucose and Alzheimer’s,” said National Institute of Aging Director Richard Hodes.

“Research such as this involves new thinking about how to investigate these connections in the intensifying search for better and more effective ways to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.”


Do you have too much sugar in your diet? Should you limit your intake?



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    27th Nov 2017
    If I read this correctly, it has been found that the brain is unable to process glucose, not that too much glucose is the problem. If I am wrong and this article is not a front for a sugar tax, I will stand corrected.
    27th Nov 2017
    How does the second sentence about artificial sweeteners relate to glycolysis which is about sugar?
    27th Nov 2017
    Because people use artificial sweeteners as a replacement for sugar.
    9th Dec 2017
    Not all sugars come from sugar cane. Some come from other plants and are not recommended by some Diabetes Associations.

    Aspartane is one definitely artificial sweetener. I don't know what it is derived from but it is used in the manfacture of diet cola drinks. It is known by renal specialists and oncologists to cause Cancer on the Kidney. Most people only get it on one Kidney and have to have it removed. There is the occasional case where it could be removed from against the kidney but it causes bad bruising of it which can result in serious illness.
    27th Nov 2017
    I have read this article and the one in the link. I can’t see anything to suggest that artificial sweeteners are associated with dementia. We should be given a link to the primary source of the research rather than a pretty dodgy summary so we can make our own minds up. Having said this, the associations between obesity, type 2 diabetes and inactivity are well known. The more I read I realise there are few human activities that are not associated with dementia. Articles like this achieve little apart from making us feel ‘bad’. I wish we’d spend more time discussing how society can support the increasing number of people with dementia and helping their families If I feel like ice cream I’ll have it without feeling guilty and worrying about my dementia because I like ice cream and I’ll probably get dementia anyway.
    27th Nov 2017
    This link discusses the metabolism of artificial sweeteners and their relationship to weight gain and obesity. I still can’t see how artificial sweeteners enter into the glycolysis cycle.
    27th Nov 2017
    There's no suggestion in the article that artificial sweeteners cause dementia. A stroke is not dementia.
    27th Nov 2017
    Exactly Jim. I can’t see how artificial sweeteners ‘cause’ dementia as the article by Leon suggests. They are probably not good for us because they lead to weight gain. I also had a quick look at other research on the unwanted effects of artificial sweeteners but couldn’t find anything on dementia. I think dementia’ is the scariest word confronting people as they age so I want authors to be very careful when they suggest causative links.
    27th Nov 2017
    Puglet, Leon in the article does NOT suggest that artificial sweeteners cause dementia. You've misunderstood the second paragraph in the article. The words "could also be linked" in that paragraph refer not to the comparison of artificial sweeteners against too much glucose ...... it refers to the comparison of too much "glucose in the brain" against too much "sugar in the body" (I admit it should have been worded more clearly).
    27th Nov 2017
    The article is about the study of blood glucose levels specifically in the "brain", and the results show there's a correlation between those levels and dementia. That's all the article is about.
    27th Nov 2017
    In fact the brain only really runs on glucose when I am having a HyPo event that is my blood sugar is too low the first thing to go is my decision making ability I am a insulin dependent diabetic
    27th Nov 2017
    Sorry,I forgot what I was going to say

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