Diabetes in the Elderly Linked to Fewer Cellular ‘Power Plants’

Elderly people may develop insulin resistance — one of the major risk factors for diabetes — because “power plants” in their muscle cells decline or fail with age, according to Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers at Yale University School of Medicine. In studies of young and elderly people, the researchers found that older people had lower levels of metabolic activity in their mitochondria, the “factories” that provide power to cells. The findings suggest that reduced mitochondrial activity underlies insulin resistance, which is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes in the elderly.