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More Evidence Links Diabetes, Dementia
Date:9/20/2011

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- People with diabetes are at significantly higher risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, finds a new study that bolsters previous research connecting the two illnesses.

The study of more than 1,000 people in Japan found that 27 percent of those with diabetes developed dementia, compared to 20 percent of people with normal blood sugar levels.

Further, the study showed that pre-diabetes -- higher than normal blood sugar levels -- also raised the risk of dementia.

"We have clearly demonstrated that diabetes is a significant risk factor for the development of dementia, especially of Alzheimer's disease, in (the) general public," said Dr. Yutaka Kiyohara, a professor in the graduate school of medical science at Kyushu University in Fukuoka.

The study, conducted from 1988 to 2003, is published Sept. 20 in Neurology.

Noting the global increase in type 2 diabetes, Kiyohara said controlling the illness is more important than ever.

The study followed 1,017 men and women, age 60 and older, who took a glucose test to find out if they were diabetic or pre-diabetic. They were then tracked over an average of 11 years each. In all, 232 developed dementia, either Alzheimer's, vascular dementia, all-cause dementia or another form.

Of the 150 who had diabetes, 41 developed dementia, compared to 115 of the 559 people without diabetes. Among the 308 people with pre-diabetes, 76, or 25 percent, developed dementia.

Even having high levels of sugar two hours after taking glucose was linked to dementia, the researchers said, noting the importance of consistent blood sugar control.

Diabetes affects close to 26 million children and adults in the United States, with 7 million of them undiagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association. Another 79 million have pre-diabetes. Obesity inc
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