Genetic Link Connecting Diabetes and Alzheimer's?

Researchers at the City College of New York have published the results of a study that indicates that a single gene forms a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Biology Professor Chris Li and her colleagues write that the gene, which is known to be present in many Alzheimer’s disease cases, affects the insulin pathway. That kind of disruption of the insulin pathway is a prominent feature of diabetes.

The story is published in the June 2012 issue of Genetics.

According to Professor Li, “People with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of dementia. The insulin pathways are involved in many metabolic processes, including helping to keep the nervous system healthy.”

Professor Li and her colleagues hope that the new insights into the genetic link between the two diseases will help focus research in ways that might lead to new therapies in the treatment of both.

2009 Alzheimer’s Report and Ramifications for Long Term Care Insurance

On September 21, 2009, the organization Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) published a report stating that the number of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s will nearly double every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. More than 35 million people worldwide will have dementia in 2010.

If anyone is keeping score, those numbers are up significantly over the previous estimates of the prevalence of dementia globally. In fact, the updated figures represent a 10% increase over a similar report in 2005.

The research team conducting the study was led by Professor Martin Prince from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. The study covers the global prevalence of dementia, the impact of dementia worldwide, and a detailed analysis of the challenges faced by governments and healthcare systems across the world.

The full report can be found at http://www.alz.co.uk/worldreport.

This new study has important ramifications for the business of long term care that carriers, marketers, and producers ought to think about. The report highlights that, among older people, dementia makes the largest contribution of any of the chronic diseases to disability and needs for care. The need for long term care is the primary driver for the societal costs of dementia, estimated at $315 billion a year worldwide.

According to Professor Martin, “Caring is a full-time job -- an average of around eight hours per day for a relative with moderate to severe dementia. In all parts of the world, carers, who are most commonly female and the spouses or children of the persons with dementia, often experience high levels of strain. Studies reviewed in the new report suggest that half to three quarters of carers have significant psychological illness, while up to a third have clinical depression. While these numbers are staggering, the current investment in research, treatment and care is actually quite disproportionate to the overall impact of the disease on people with dementia, their carers, on health and social care systems, and on society.”