The role of metabolic disorders in Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia: two roads converged

Arch Neurol. 2009 Mar;66(3):300-5. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2009.27.


In recent years a rapidly increasing number of studies has focused on the relationship between dementia and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. Etiological heterogeneity and comorbidity pose challenges for determining relationships among metabolic disorders. The independent and interactive effects of brain vascular injury and classic pathological agents such as beta-amyloid have also proved difficult to distinguish in human patients, blurring the lines between Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia. This review highlights recent work aimed at identifying convergent mechanisms such as insulin resistance that may underlie comorbid metabolic disorders and thereby increase dementia risk. Identification of such convergent factors will not only provide important insight into the causes and interdependencies of late-life dementias but will also inspire novel strategies for treating and preventing these disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Dementia, Vascular / complications
  • Dementia, Vascular / etiology*
  • Dementia, Vascular / pathology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / classification
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications*
  • Metabolic Diseases / pathology
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Insulin
  • tau Proteins