Common gene may contribute to type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease

Doctors have long reported a correlation between Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes, but an explanation for this correlation has long eluded science. However, the findings of a new study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine may help explain the relationship.

Researchers found that a common gene - proliferator-activated receptor coactivator 1 (PGC-1) - may predispose individuals to both conditions. Their results were published in the journal Aging Cell.

The gene is currently being investigated by diabetes researchers as a potential target for new therapies. In the current study, researchers found that it also increases the production of beta-amyloids, which are proteins in the brain that have been associated with increased Alzheimer's risk in high levels.

"Our research is the first to find that PGC-1 is a common denominator between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease," said Maria Pasinetti, who led the study. "This discovery will have significant implications for the more than five million Americans affected by Alzheimer's disease, a number that is expected to skyrocket in the next three decades as the population ages."

She added that the findings may assist in the creation of new medications to reduce the risk of both conditions.
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