[ExI] The Dementia Plague

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 13:09:22 UTC 2012


*Just in case you need another reason to cut back on junk food, it now
turns out that Alzheimer’s could well be a form of diet-induced diabetes.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts,
processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until
your body fails you.*
*We used to think there were two types of diabetes: the type you’re born
with (Type 1) and the type you “get.” That’s called Type 2, and was called
“adult onset” until it started ravaging kids. Type 2 is brought about by a
combination of factors, including overeating, American-style.*
*The idea that Alzheimer’s might be Type 3 diabetes has been around since
2005, but the connection between poor diet and Alzheimer’s is becoming more
convincing, as summarized in a cover story in New Scientist entitled “Food
for Thought: What You Eat May Be Killing Your Brain.” (The graphic — a
chocolate brain with a huge piece missing — is creepy. But for the record:
chocolate is not the enemy.)*
Let’s connect the dots: We know that the American diet is a fast track not
only to obesity but to Type 2 diabetes and other preventable,
non-communicable diseases, which now account for more deaths worldwide than
all other causes combined.

We also already know that people with diabetes are at least twice as likely
to get Alzheimer’s, and that obesity alone increases the risk of impaired
brain function.

What’s new is the thought that while diabetes doesn’t “cause” Alzheimer’s,
they have the same root: an over consumption of those “foods” that mess
with insulin’s many roles. (Genetics have an effect on susceptibility, as
they appear to with all environmental diseases.) “Sugar is clearly
implicated,” says Dr. de la Monte, “but there could be other factors as
well, including nitrates in food.”

If the rate of Alzheimer’s rises in lockstep with Type 2 diabetes, which
has nearly tripled in the United States in the last 40 years, we will
shortly see a devastatingly high percentage of our population with not only
failing bodies but brains. Even for the lucky ones this is terrible news,
because 5.4 million Americans (nearly 2 percent, for those keeping score at
home) have the disease, the care for which — along with other dementias —
will cost around $200 billion this year.


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