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Brain Insulin Resistance

March 13, 2015

Insulin-resistance in the brain may be responsible for mood disorders in diabetics, and may also play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders.




( staff/Blausen gallery 2014/Wikiversity Journal of Medicine)

The diabetes-depression connection. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Most diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, where the body doesn’t respond to this sugar-regulating hormone. Older people with diabetes have a high incidence of anxiety and depression and Harvard researcher C. Ronald Kahn says insulin resistance in the brain may be the reason.

C. RONALD KAHN (Harvard Medical School):

We’re learning that insulin does have effects on the brain to control appetite and energy balance and metabolism, but also it might control mood and behavior as well.


In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and his colleagues report that mice with insulin-resistant brains had impaired mitochondria, cell structures that generate energy and help regulate mood. The finding could lead to new therapies for diabetes, and possibly Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease, disorders in which impaired mitochondria also play a role.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.