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Type 1 Plus Type 2 diabetes Is Not Type 3 Diabetes?



sharma-obesity-brainLast week at the 8th Annual Obesity Symposium hosted by the European Surgery Institute in Norderstedt, one of the case presentations included an individual with type 1 diabetes (no insulin production), who had gained weight and subsequently also developed increasing insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

In my discussion, I referred to this as 1+2 diabetes, or in other words, type 3 diabetes.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the term type 3 diabetes has already been proposed for┬áthe type of neuronal insulin resistance found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

As discussed in a paper by Suzanne de la Monte and Jack Wands published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology,

“Referring to Alzheimer’s disease as Type 3 diabetes (T3DM) is justified, because the fundamental molecular and biochemical abnormalities overlap with T1DM and T2DM rather than mimic the effects of either one.”

These findings have considerable implications for our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease as a largely neuroendocrine disorder, which may in part be amenable to treatment with drugs normally used to treat type 1 and/or type 2 diabetes.

In retrospect, I believe, whoever came up with the term type 3 diabetes for Alzheimer’s disease, should perhaps have called it type 4 diabetes, given that the 1+2 diabetes is now increasingly common (and well studied) in patients with type 1 diabetes, who go on to develop type 2 diabetes (which, as discussed at the symposium responds quite well to bariatric or “metabolic” surgery).

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

2 Comments

  1. Type 3 diabetes was being mooted as an alternative name for Alzheimer’s 10 years ago: Impaired insulin and insulin-like growth factor expression and signalling mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease–is this type 3 diabetes? Steen E, Terry BM, Rivera EJ, Cannon JL, Neely TR, Tavares R, Xu XJ, Wands JR, de la Monte SM. Department of Pathology, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School, Providence, RI 02903, USA. J Alzheimers Dis. 2005 Feb;7(1):63-80
    It’s certainly food for thought…

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    • Yes, too bad, I thought calling 1 + 2 diabetes type 3 was somehow logical – guess there wasn’t too much of this around back then.

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