People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The new study was published by Kyushu University. Researchers have suspected the link for several years, but now experts suggest the study highlights the importance of treating diseases caused by obesity.
“Our findings emphasize the need to consider diabetes as a potential risk factor for dementia,” said study author Dr. Yutaka Kiyohara, of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan.
“Diabetes is a common disorder, and the number of people with it has been growing in recent years all over the world. Controlling diabetes is now more important than ever,” Kiyohara said.
Researchers began studying residents of the town of Hisayama, Japan, in 1961, monitoring the numbers of people who got cardiovascular diseases. In 1985, they began measuring the numbers of people who developed Alzheimer’s. The researchers followed more than 1,000 people for an average of 11 years.
The study was published in the latest issue of the journal, Neurology.
Dr. Richard Caselli, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, said the connection isn’t particularly new, but its implications for the importance of treating diabetes are.
“Nobody doubts that diabetes is associated with a higher incidence of dementia,” Caselli said. “But this is one more reason for people to be aware of the potential ravages of diabetes and to treat it aggressively and adequately and try to prevent consequences.”
They found that 27 percent of the people with diabetes developed Alzheimer’s, compared with 21 percent of people without the disease.