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High Blood Sugar Increases Dementia Risk

ts, there was still a statistically significant association between elevated glycosylated hemoglobin and the risk of MCI or dementia.

The authors conclude, “This finding supports the hypothesis that abnormal glycemic control is linked to an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia in elderly women.”

The authors note that there are a number of possible reasons why chronically high blood sugar may cause cognitive impairment, ranging from the overall effects of diabetic complications to direct and indirect brain damage caused by high blood sugar to a possible association between the enzyme that degrades insulin and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Type 2 diabetes is a very common and growing problem,” notes Yaffe. “The point is that now you can identify people who are at risk for MCI or dementia and monitor them closely with glycosylated hemoglobin. I think we need to take these people who are at risk and see whether we can target them for trials or interventions for better blood glucose control.”

Co-authors of the study were Terri Blackwell, MS, of California Pacific Medical Center; Rachel Whitmer, PhD, of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research; Katherine Kreuger, MD, of Eli Lilly and Company; and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, of UC San Diego.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Mount Zion/UCSF Fund for Women’s Health, and the Paul Beeson Faculty Scholars in Aging. The parent trial, of which the current study was a part, was funded by Eli Lilly and Company.

SFVAMC has the largest medical research program in the national VA system, with more than 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at UCSF.

UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences, and providing complex patient care
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