Alzheimer's Risk Doubled By Diabetes

It has long been known that diabetics are more susceptible to such conditions as heart disease and stroke. Now, a new study adds another disease to the list of potentials: Alzheimer's.

According to this new research conducted in Japan, there is a significant increase in the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease when an individual is a diabetic. The same study also showed an increase in the probability of developing other types of dementia, as well.

The study gathered data from over 1,000 men and women, all of whom were over the age of 60. What they found was that when compared to non-diabetics, those with diabetes were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease within a 15 year period. During the same time frame, they were also 1.75 times more likely to also develop some form of dementia.

Researchers are still working through how diabetes contributes to dementia. One theory is that insulin resistance may interrupt the body's ability to break down a key protein that forms brain plaques. Another possibility has to do with the role that diabetes plays in narrowing, and hardening, the arteries within the brain.

Rachel Whitmer, who works in the research division of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, expressed how important these findings are.

“It's really important to the public health to understand that diabetes is a significant risk factor for all of these types of dementia,” said Dr. Whitmer.

Dr. Whitmer has labeled this new study as “well done”. According to her, it gives “really good evidence that people with diabetes are at greater risk, but we really need to look at other studies to find out why.”

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