Publication / Source: Neuro Central
Authors: David Howett, University of Cambridge, UK
While Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) are two public health concerns in their own right, they are also frequently comorbid; linked by genetics, epidemiology and molecular biology. To date, both diseases are thought to be an inevitability of either modern civilisation or the length of human lifespan. However, a novel hypothesis put forward by Danièlle Gunn-Moore and colleagues in Alzheimer’s and Dementia challenges this view, suggesting that the convergent molecular antecendents to AD and T2D are caused by our post-reproductive longevity, not simply our increasing life span.
The increase in AD and T2D can only be partially explained by the combination of an aging population with increasing sedentary lifestyles and availability of dense caloric foods. The authors alternatively suggest that “…there is a molecular link between longevity and both AD and T2D that suggests a relationship whereby both arise not as an unfortunate consequence of growing older in the modern world but are intrinsic to it.”
If AD and T2D are a product of longevity, then is there a shared mechanism underpinning and unifying all three?