Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Would an Article on Alzheimer Disease Appear in Pediatrics?

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief   

          Hopefully the headline for today’s blog caught your attention.  What’s our interest in Alzheimer Disease in a pediatric journal? Believe it or not, two markers of insulin resistance have been associated in adults with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer Disease and dementia, and Luciano et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2391) opted to look for these markers early by measuring them in normal, overweight, and obese preschoolers and adolescents.  
      Correlations of the Alzheimer biomarkers were significantly associated with elevated body mass index (BMI) in conjunction with insulin resistance suggesting that perhaps seeing these markers early on may signal a later risk of developing the cognitive abnormalities associated with Alzheimer Disease and dementia.  How these markers in childhood might result in the brain changes that cause this disease of adults and what we might do about this while our patients are still young raises perhaps more questions than answers—but that’s what reading our journal is all about.  
     Hopefully an article like this will raise awareness enough to trigger other studies to confirm these findings, follow the cohort of overweight and obese children with insulin resistance and see if reducing the level of resistance also improves mentation as these children age.  Read this study and you’ll see yet another example of how the prevention work we strive to do as pediatricians pays off not just in childhood but throughout our patients’ lives.

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