Researchers Find Link Between Diabetes and Dementia

| by Kendal Mitchell
The Human Brain.The Human Brain.

A new study may have found a link between diabetes and dementia.

Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study said people with diabetes, depression or low levels of the B vitamin folate and mild cognitive impairment may be more likely to develop dementia.

The study examined 62 other published works to look for possible indicators that would lead MCI patients’ brain functions to worsen to dementia. It included around 16,000 people.

MCI describes a group of symptoms that include struggling to think and remember day-to-day pieces of information, like appointments, conversations and recent events.

The research team led by Gill Livingston, a professor at University College London, discovered four significant findings about the relationship between diabetes and dementia.

The study found that those with diabetes were more likely to develop dementia after MCI. Second, those with depression were at risk of developing MCI that leads to dementia, but the tests proved inconclusive.

Third, those with low folate levels were also more at risk of their MCI worsening to dementia. Folic acid is a type of B vitamin found in legumes, dark green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits that assists with tissue growth and cell development.

Alcohol may also affect how MCI may lead to dementia. While lifelong heavy drinkers may see worsening cognitive function, moderate drinkers may be less likely to develop dementia than those who do not drink alcohol.

Around 46 percent of people with MCI will develop more severe cases of dementia, symptoms that include memory loss and problems with cognition, problem-solving and language.

"While there's currently no cure (for dementia), we know that the best way to reduce your dementia risk is to eat a Mediterranean diet rich in oily fish and vegetables, keep physically active, not smoke and have your blood pressure regularly checked," said Clare Walton, a doctor and research manager at Alzheimer's Society in the U.K. 

Sources: WebMD / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons