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Claims that diabetes triples risk of dementia in some older people

A new study claims that some older people with mild memory-loss are three times more likely to develop dementia if they also have diabetes.

The research, by Alzheimer’s Research Trust scientists at King’s College London, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, investigated the connection between mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in older people and dementia.

Results

The scientists followed 61 people aged 65 or over who had MCI over a period of four years. 16 (26 per cent) of the participants had diabetes. Results show that after four years, 19 (31 per cent) developed dementia, two (3 per cent) reverted to normal cognitive levels, and 40 (59 per cent) remained stable. Of those who progressed to dementia, seven had diabetes.

“We have already seen a number of previous studies linking Type 2 diabetes to cognitive impairment and dementia and we already know that Type 2 diabetes is considered to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease," said Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK.

Interesting study

“This study is interesting because it considers the association between Type 2 diabetes and the progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.

"Although the number of participants in the study is quite small, the researchers have suggested that such a link exists.”

“Further studies should investigate the ability to not only identify those at particular risk but also target treatment programmes aimed at preventing progression to dementia in people with Type 2 diabetes and mild cognitive impairment.”

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