Type Three Diabetes: Unraveling the Link Between Insulin Resistance and Dementia

Published on May 12, 2024

Updated on May 13, 2024

Table of Contents


Welcome to this critical discussion about Type Three () and its relationship to dementia. As we embark on this journey together, let's explore what is, why it matters, and how it impacts our loved ones.

What Is Type Three (T3D)?

T3D is a lesser-known form of diabetes that specifically affects the brain. Unlike the more familiar Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, which primarily involve insulin regulation in the body, T3D focuses on insulin resistance within the brain. You read that correctly: the brain relies on insulin to function optimally!

The Brain’s Sweet Connection: Insulin and Memory

Imagine your brain as a bustling city with intricate streets and bustling traffic. Insulin is the traffic controller, ensuring glucose (our brain's primary fuel) reaches the right destinations. The brain's traffic lights malfunction when insulin resistance occurs—whether due to genetic factors, lifestyle choices, or other reasons. Glucose delivery becomes erratic, leading to potential cognitive issues.

The Link Between T3D and Dementia

Now, let's talk about dementia. You've likely heard of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. Researchers have discovered a fascinating connection: individuals with T3D are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. It's like a hidden bridge between these seemingly unrelated conditions.

Why Insulin Resistance Matters

Insulin resistance isn't just about blood sugar levels; it profoundly affects brain health. When brain cells become resistant to insulin, they struggle to communicate effectively. Think of it as a miscommunication glitch—a language barrier within our minds. Over time, this can lead to memory lapses, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.

Our Role as Caregivers

As caregivers, we play a crucial role in supporting our loved ones with T3D. By understanding the connection between insulin resistance and dementia, we can take proactive steps:

  1. Education: Learn more about T3D and its impact. Share this knowledge with family members, friends, and healthcare providers.
  2. Healthy Lifestyle: Encourage a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management. These practices can improve insulin sensitivity and brain health.
  3. Regular Check-Ups: Ensure that your loved one receives regular medical check-ups. Early detection and management are essential.

Remember, empathy and patience go a long way. Our loved ones may face challenges but can navigate this complex terrain with our support.

Understanding Type Three Diabetes

Today, we're unraveling the mystery of Type Three Diabetes (T3D). It's like a secret passage in the intricate corridors of health that connects our brain, insulin, and memory. So, let's put on our detective hats and explore!

What Is T3D, Anyway?

T3D isn't as famous as its cousins, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, but it plays a starring role in brain health. Imagine T3D as a backstage crew member who ensures the spotlight falls on memory, cognition, and overall brain function.

T3D vs. T2D: The Showdown

T2D is the more familiar face we associate with blood sugar levels and insulin injections. It's like the bustling city streets where insulin shuttles glucose into cells.

Now, T3D steps onto the stage. It's not about blood sugar; it's about brain sugar. Specifically, it's about insulin resistance within our gray matter.

The Brain’s Sweet Symphony: Insulin and Memory

Picture your brain as a concert hall. Insulin plays the conductor, ensuring glucose (our brain's fuel) reaches every seat.

The brain's harmony falters when insulin resistance occurs—like a stubborn violinist refusing to play. Memory lapses, focus wavers, and confusion set in.

The Brain’s Insulin Tango

Insulin’s Dual Role: Beyond Blood Sugar

We often associate insulin with blood sugar regulation. But guess what? Our brain cells also crave insulin hugs.

Insulin helps neurons communicate, form memories, and maintain their structure. It's like the brain's secret handshake.

When Insulin Gets Moody: Insulin Resistance

Imagine insulin knocking on brain cell doors. In T3D, some cells turn snobbish—they resist insulin's charm.

These resistant cells struggle to absorb glucose. It's like a missed connection at a crowded train station. Over time, this affects memory and cognitive abilities.

Our Role as Caregivers: Navigating the Brain’s Labyrinth

Learn and Share

Educate yourself about T3D. Share this knowledge with others—family, friends, and fellow caregivers.

Let's demystify T3D together. Knowledge is our lantern in this labyrinth.

Healthy Habits Matter

Encourage a brain-friendly lifestyle. Think colorful veggies, whole grains, and regular exercise.

Stress management? Yes, that's our brain's spa day.

Check-Ups and

Regular check-ups are our treasure maps. Early detection matters.

Be patient. Sometimes, memory stumbles, but our love remains steady.

The APOE4 Gene and Insulin Impairment

Today, we're unraveling the mystery of the APOE4 gene variant—a tiny piece of our genetic puzzle that holds significant sway over brain health. Imagine it as a secret code in our DNA that affects how our brain cells communicate and thrive.

The APOE Gene: A Trio of Variants

APOE3: The Neutral Player

Like other genes, every person inherits two copies of the APOE gene.

The most common variant, called APOE3, neither increases nor decreases one's chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. It's like a calm river flowing through our genetic landscape.

APOE2: The Protective Guardian

APOE2, on the other hand, is our shield bearer. It stands guard against Alzheimer's, reducing the risk.

Think of it as a knight protecting the castle walls—keeping memory intact and cognitive decline at bay.

APOE4: The Risky Gambler

Ah, here comes APOE4—the enigmatic one. About 25% of people with European ancestry carry one copy of APOE4.

But this variant isn't content with neutrality. It carries an elevated risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Having one copy of APOE4 doubles the chances of this unwelcome guest knocking on our brain's door.

APOE4 and Brain Insulation: A Slippery Slope

Cholesterol and Brain Wiring

Like electric wires, our brain cells need proper insulation. Cholesterol plays a crucial role in this process. This is why increasingly more healthcare professionals are calling out statin medications as one of the causes of dementia!

Enter APOE4. It's like a mischievous squirrel nibbling at the insulation—the myelin sheath—around our neurons.

Insulin Resistance and Brain Fog

APOE4 disrupts the delicate balance of cholesterol in brain cells. It's like a conductor who forgets the harmonious tune.

Neurons struggle to communicate effectively, leading to memory lapses, confusion, and that dreaded brain fog.

Insights from Mouse Studies and High-Fat Diets

Mouse Models: Our Tiny Allies

Scientists love mice (the furry kind, not the computer kind). They've studied mouse brains to understand APOE4's mischief.

These little rodents, carrying APOE4 variants, show signs of impaired brain function. Their memory pathways resemble tangled yarn.

High-Fat Diets: A Culprit Emerges

Imagine mice feasting on cheeseburgers and fries (not precisely, but close). High-fat diets exacerbate APOE4's effects.

The brain's traffic lights malfunction—the glucose delivery system goes haywire. It's like rush hour traffic during a blizzard.

Our Role as Caregivers: Navigating the Genetic Landscape

Knowledge Is Our Compass

Learn about APOE4 and its implications. Share this knowledge with others.

We're explorers mapping uncharted territories. Understanding APOE4 helps us prepare.

Healthy Habits Matter

Encourage brain-friendly choices—nutrient-rich foods, exercise, and stress management.

Our loved ones need well-insulated brain highways.

Support and Patience

Sometimes, memory stumbles. Be patient. Our empathy is their warm blanket.

Together, we'll navigate the twists and turns of genetics, armed with .

Insulin Resistance and Cognitive Decline

Today, we embark on a journey through the winding pathways of the brain, where insulin resistance plays a pivotal role. Imagine our brains as ancient libraries, and insulin—the key to memory and cognition—holds the answers within its pages.

Insulin Resistance: The Brain’s Silent Intruder

What Is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin, usually associated with blood sugar regulation, also dances within our brain cells.

Insulin resistance occurs when these brain cells become stubborn—they don't respond well to insulin's gentle nudges.

The Brain’s Symphony Disrupted: Impact on Cognitive Function

Think of insulin as the conductor of a grand orchestra. It ensures glucose (our brain's fuel) reaches every neuron.

When resistance creeps in, the orchestra falters. Memory lapses, focus wavers, and the music stumbles.

Evidence Linking T2D and Alzheimer’s Disease

A Shared Pathway: Insulin and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's disease, like a shadowy maze, shares features with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Both involve insulin resistance. Imagine them holding hands, whispering secrets across the neural synapses.

The Risk Connection: Diabetes and Cognitive Decline

Studies reveal that individuals with diabetes—especially T2D—are more vulnerable to cognitive decline.

Picture a bridge connecting these two conditions. Cross it carefully; the fog of forgetfulness awaits.

Insulin Resistance of the Brain: Unmasking the Culprit

Aβ Oligomers and IRS-1 Dysfunction

Brace yourselves for some scientific intrigue. Aβ oligomers—tiny troublemakers—trigger insulin resistance in the brain.

IRS-1 (insulin receptor substrate-1), our messenger, stumbles. It's like a postman dropping letters along the way.

Markers of Resistance: IRS-1 Phosphorylation

In brains affected by Alzheimer's, IRS-1 wears a cloak of phosphorylation. Fancy term, right?

These markers—IRS-1 pS 616 and IRS-1 pS 636/639—rise, signaling insulin resistance. They're like red flags in the fog.

Beyond Classic Pathology: Cognitive Decline Unleashed

Here's the twist: Even without classic Alzheimer's plaques and tangles, insulin resistance marches on.

Episodic memory falters, and working memory stumbles. It's as if the library's shelves collapse, scattering knowledge.

Our Role as Caregivers: Guiding the Journey

Knowledge as Compass

Learn about insulin resistance. Share this wisdom with others—family, friends, fellow caregivers.

We're explorers mapping uncharted territories. Understanding matters.

Brain-Friendly Choices

Encourage colorful veggies, whole grains, and movement. Our brain cells crave nourishment.

Stress management? Yes, that's our brain's yoga session.

Patience and Compassion

Sometimes memory stumbles. Be patient. Our empathy is their anchor.

Together, we navigate the fog, holding hands with hope.

Potential Treatments and Personalized Approaches

Insulin Nasal Sprays: A Breath of Possibility

The Intranasal Pathway: Insulin to the Brain

Imagine a gentle mist, like morning dew, carrying insulin through the nasal passages. This is the magic of intranasal insulin (INI).

Clinical trials have whispered promising secrets: INI improves learning, memory, and verbal abilities. It's like a whispered lullaby to our brain cells.

The MemAID Trial: A Ray of Light

In a phase 2 randomized controlled clinical trial called MemAID, scientists explored INI's effects.

Participants with type 2 diabetes experienced faster walking speeds, increased cerebral blood flow, and reduced plasma insulin levels. Meanwhile, those without diabetes saw improved decision-making and verbal memory.

Picture it: a bridge connecting cognition and insulin, bathed in sunlight.

Personalized Approaches: Our Compass in the Genetic Maze

The APOE4 Gene: A Silent Player

Remember our genetic code? Some carry the APOE4 variant—a subtle twist in the tale.

For those without APOE4, INI dances gracefully, like a waltz. However, for APOE4 carriers, the steps change. We need personalized choreography.

Tailoring Treatment: A Symphony of Genes

Each person's genetic orchestra plays a unique tune. Some genes amplify the risk of cognitive decline, while others offer protection.

Our role as caregivers? Conductors. We harmonize treatments based on individual genetic notes.

Beyond One Size Fits All: The Future Beckons

Clinical trials continue like stars in the night sky. Researchers explore personalized therapies.

Imagine a quilt stitched from genetic insights: precision medicine, lifestyle adjustments, and targeted interventions.

Hope on the Horizon: What Lies Ahead

Ongoing Clinical Trials: Seeds of Progress

Scientists plant seeds—trials like delicate blossoms. They test new therapies and refine old ones.

INI whispers its promise. But there's more: antioxidants, brain exercises, and nourishing connections.

Tomorrow’s Sunrise: A Shared Journey

Our loved ones walk this path with courage. We hold lanterns of empathy.

As the sun rises, we glimpse personalized care—tailored to genes, memories, and dreams.


We've explored the hidden corridors where T3D tiptoes alongside memory's fragile threads. Let's gather our findings like precious seashells on a windswept beach:

T3D Unveiled: A Brief Recap

  • Type Three Diabetes (T3D) isn't just about blood sugar; it's about brain sugar. Insulin resistance within our gray matter disrupts the symphony of cognition.
  • Imagine our brain cells as delicate glass ornaments—insulin resistance chips away at their brilliance.

The Dance of APOE4 and Insulin

  • APOE4, that elusive gene variant, whispers secrets to our brain cells. It's like a cryptic map leading us through foggy terrain.
  • Insulin, our brain's conductor, stumbles when APOE4 joins the dance. Memory lapses, like forgotten melodies, echo.

The Bridge Between T3D and Dementia

  • Alzheimer's disease, the star of this cosmic drama, beckons from the shadows. T3D holds hands with dementia, crossing a hidden bridge.
  • Early signs—like distant stars flickering—remind us to pay attention.

The Candle of Early Detection

  • Imagine a candle in a dark room. Early detection is that flame—it illuminates the path ahead.
  • Regular check-ups, like compass points, us. Memory tests and brain scans are our lanterns.

Nurturing Hope: Management Matters

  • Lifestyle Choices: Encourage colorful veggies, whole grains, and movement. Our brain cells crave nourishment.
  • Stress Management: Yoga for the mind—gentle stretches, deep breaths.
  • Support Networks: We're not lone travelers. Reach out, share stories, and hold hands.

Our Collective Symphony

  • As caregivers, we're conductors, weaving empathy into every note.
  • Let's celebrate small victories—the forgotten name remembered, the puzzle piece found.
  • Together, we compose resilience, love, and understanding.

Dear caregivers, our journey doesn't end here. It continues—a tapestry woven with care, stitched by hope. May our loved ones find solace in our presence, even amidst the fog of forgetfulness.


What is the link between Alzheimer's and Type 3 diabetes?

Type 3 Diabetes: Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, and More

Dementia Actually Type 3 Diabetes? The Role of Insulin Resistance

Dementia in Diabetes: The Role of Hypoglycemia

A rare mutation protects against Alzheimer's disease, Stanford-led research finds

APOE ε4, the door to insulin‐resistant dyslipidemia and brain fog? A case study – Stoykovich – 2019

Alzheimer's risk gene undermines insulation of brain's “wiring”

Insulin Resistance Predicts Cognitive Decline: An 11-Year Follow-up of a Nationally Representative Adult Population Sample

How Insulin Resistance May Speed Up Cognitive Decline

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Insulin Spray Improved Gait, Cognitive Function in Patients With and Without Type 2 Diabetes, Clinical Trial Shows

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