Home > BlogUndiagnosed pre-Diabetes Prevalent in Early Alzheimer’s disease Study

Undiagnosed pre-Diabetes Prevalent in Early Alzheimer’s disease Study

Posted by MullanMichael on August 08, 2014

In a nationwide study conducted last year, Georgetown University neurologist R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, and director of the University’s Medical Center’s Memory Disorders Program; when he began enrolling individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, he expected only to find a handful of participants that had undiagnosed glucose intolerance, as all of the study’s patients were under doctor’s care, and all individuals with known diabetes were excluded from the study. The results shocked Turner as to how many individuals came back with undiagnosed pre-diabetes. Turner’s study examined resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and wine, and was tested to see if it would change the glucose levels in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol is thought to act on proteins in the brain in a way that would mimic effects of a low-calorie diet.

                  In order to join Turner’s study, participants were first given a fasting glucose tolerance test in order to establish a baseline level, and then retested two hours after eating. During the digestion process, the blood sugar level rises, and in response the pancreas produces insulin to lower it. A high blood sugar level after two hours of digestion revealed glucose intolerance (pre-diabetes), and higher levels revealed full-blown diabetes. The results of the study showed that four percent, or five individuals, out of the one hundred and twenty-eight participants showed impaired fasting glucose levels while 2 percent, or three individuals had blood sugar levels at the type-2 diabetes mark.

            Of the 125 individuals who completed the glucose tolerance test, 38 individuals had glucose intolerance, and 16 others had levels consistent with diabetes. What proved shocking to Turner was the fact that the overall prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance, or diabetes, at the two-hour mark after eating was 43 percent of the individuals involved in the study, The results lead Turner to further question testing methods, and whether or not all patients with early Alzheimer’s should be tested for glucose tolerance. While it is an unusual test ordered by neurologists, it could help provide much-needed clues about the diseases and would provide researchers and doctors with critical health information.


1)     Georgetown University Medical Center (2013, July 14). Undiagnosed pre-diabetes highly prevalent in early Alzheimer's disease study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2013/07/130714160840.htm


The Roskamp Institute is a 501(c)3 research facility dedicated to translating the efforts of its qualified research staff into real-world results for those suffering from neurological diseases. To learn more about our programs and to get information about donating, visit www.rfdn.org.


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