Study Says Diabetes Increases Risk for Dementia

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 10:58am

NEW YORK- New research released this week is the latest to suggest there's a link between Alzheimer’s and Diabetes and that's leading to some startling predictions from the experts.

The evidence linking Type 2 diabetes and the risk for Alzheimer's has been growing for years, and today's study makes the case even stronger. For 11 years, Japanese researchers followed more than a 1000 people, ages 60 and older.

Those with diabetes at the outset were 35 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's. Those with the most severe diabetes had more than triple the risk. The Alzheimer's Association already estimates that by mid-century, 16 million Americans could have the disease that robs people of their memory.

Why the link between two of America's biggest health problems? Scientists don't have all the answers, but Dr. Sam Gandy and his team at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine recently discovered one piece of the puzzle.

Last week, scientists found that insulin delivered directly to the brain with a special inhalation device might be a treatment for Alzheimer's. But it will take years for large studies to prove whether that or any other treatment is effective. Meanwhile Type 2 diabetes already affects 25-million Americans. And the ways to reduce the risk are all too familiar: exercise and diet.

Studies show that Alzheimer's is one of the most feared diseases -- second only to cancer. Many public health experts hope the evidence linking diabetes to Alzheimer's will persuade many people who are considering lifestyle changes to actually make them.

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