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Super-Tight Blood Sugar Control May Not Ease Mental Decline in Diabetics
Date:9/28/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- For people with type 2 diabetes, intense treatment doesn't slow decline in thinking skills, a new study found. Super-strict blood sugar control actually appeared to increase study participants' risk of death, the researchers found.

People older than 70 with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to suffer mental impairment as those without diabetes, researchers say. Intensively controlling blood sugar has been shown to reduce the odds of diabetes complications, such as vision, kidney and circulation problems, so it seemed likely that it might also slow any cognitive decline related to the condition.

"At the end of the day, there was no difference in cognitive function between people who received the intensive strategy versus the standard strategy," said lead researcher Lenore J. Launer, at the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

Launer said they went into the study assuming intensive lowering of blood sugar would improve cognitive function. Since there were no non-diabetics in the study for comparison purposes, it is still possible that routine control of blood sugar does confer a benefit on cognitive function, she said.

"Patients should follow standard therapy, because there is no additional benefit to following a more intensive strategy," she advised.

It is important for people with type 2 diabetes to keep their blood sugar under control to reduce the likelihood of long-term complications. While the study didn't confirm cognitive advantages, many other health benefits are associated with well-controlled blood sugar, Launer said.

The study was published in the Sept. 27 online edition of The Lancet Neurology.

Launer's group looked at a subset of patients who took part in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial.

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