Type 3 Diabetes Mellitus: A Link Between Alzheimer's Disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Cureus. 2020 Nov 25;12(11):e11703. doi: 10.7759/cureus.11703.


Chronic diseases, as their name suggests, are progressive and can have overlapping features. Similar to this, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and diabetes mellitus (DM) fall into the category of chronic degenerative diseases. The global burden of these two ailments is manifold; hence, it seems important to view the pathophysiologic mechanisms of DM in the worsening of AD. Genetic as well as environmental factors are seen to play a role in the disease pathogenesis. Several genes, metabolic pathways, electrolytes, and dietary habits are seen to hasten brain atrophy. Lying behind this is the accumulation of amyloid precursor and tau - the misfolded proteins - within the brain substance. This mechanism is usually innate to AD itself, but the impact of insulin resistance, disturbing the homeostatic milieu, is seen as a powerful contributing factor aggravating the neuronal loss impairing an individual's memory. Since this neuronal loss is permanent, it may lead to complications as seen with AD. To reach a consensus, we conducted an electronic literature review search using different databases. This aided us in understanding the common aspects between AD and DM on genetic, molecular, cellular levels, as well as the impact of minerals and diet on the disease manifestation. We also found that despite exceptional work, additional efforts are needed to explore the relationship between the two entities. This will help physicians, researchers, and pharmaceuticals to frame remedies targeting the cause and avoid the progression of AD.

Keywords: alzheimer’s dementia; dementia; diabetes type 2; genes; genetics; insulin resistance; single nucleotide polymorphism; type 3 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review