Diabetes Increases Risk of Alzheimer's and Dementia

New research in Japan shows that developing Alzheimer's disease is twice as likely for diabetics than for non-diabetics. While it's a scary finding, understanding the link is the first step toward prevention.

The Study

The study focused on over 1,000 people over the age of 60. The risk of developing Alzheimer's were doubled for diabetics. Diabetics also were 1.75 times more likely to develop dementia within 15 years.

Possible Causes

While it's unclear what the exact link between diabetes and Alzheimer's is at this point, researchers believe it may have something to do with brain plaque. Diabetics who are insulin resistant may not be able to break down a protein that leads to brain plaque.

Another theory is that hardening of the arteries around the brain due to poor circulation may spur on Alzheimer's disease.

More Research

According to Dr. Rachel Witmer of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, the findings of this study are very important. The doctor feels that it provides “really good evidence that people with diabetes are at greater risk, but we really need to look at other studies to find out why.”

Photo: Metro