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Impaired glucose metabolism is a defining characteristic of type 2 diabetes. People who have type 2 diabetes have a markedly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Impaired glucose uptake and metabolism in the brain are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Their manifestation precedes the onset of clinical symptoms. Impaired brain glucose uptake also plays a causal role in tau tangle formation.

Emerging evidence presented at a recent meeting of the Society for Neuroscience suggests that impaired glucose metabolism may be a causal factor in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some researchers have even suggested that Alzheimer’s disease is “type 3 diabetes.” A summary of the evidence presented and links to more than a dozen studies supporting these conclusions can be found in this perspective.

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