Does diabetes speed up memory loss in Alzheimer's disease?

October 27, 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. -Research has shown that diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease and the risk of memory loss in people who don't have Alzheimer's disease. But it hasn't been clear whether people with Alzheimer's disease and diabetes have more rapid memory loss than those who have Alzheimer's disease but no diabetes.

New research published in the October 27, 2009, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, suggests that those with both diseases actually have a slower rate of than people who had only Alzheimer's disease.

"This result was surprising," said study author Caroline Sanz, MD, of INSERM, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Toulouse. "Our initial hypothesis was that diabetes would increase the rate of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's disease."

For the study, researchers followed 608 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease for four years and tested their memory and thinking skills twice a year. A total of 63 people, or 10.4 percent, had diabetes.

At the beginning of the study, both those with and without diabetes had average scores of 20 points on the . Over each six-month testing period, the overall group declined by an average of 1.24 points on the test. However, those without diabetes declined by 0.38 points more per six-month period than those with diabetes.

Researchers say it is not clear yet why the rate of memory loss was slower for people with diabetes. "One possible explanation is that diabetes in the elderly differs from that in younger people and in addition, elderly people with diabetes may be more likely to receive cardiovascular medications such as drugs for than people who don't have diabetes," Sanz said. "These drugs have been reported to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and also the rate of in people with . Other possible explanations for these findings may relate to differences in brain lesions in those people with diabetes compared to those without diabetes."

Source: American Academy of Neurology (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Neuro chip records brain cell activity

October 26, 2016

Brain functions are controlled by millions of brain cells. However, in order to understand how the brain controls functions, such as simple reflexes or learning and memory, we must be able to record the activity of large ...

Can a brain-computer interface convert your thoughts to text?

October 25, 2016

Ever wonder what it would be like if a device could decode your thoughts into actual speech or written words? While this might enhance the capabilities of already existing speech interfaces with devices, it could be a potential ...

The current state of psychobiotics

October 25, 2016

Now that we know that gut bacteria can speak to the brain—in ways that affect our mood, our appetite, and even our circadian rhythms—the next challenge for scientists is to control this communication. The science of psychobiotics, ...

After blindness, the adult brain can learn to see again

October 25, 2016

More than 40 million people worldwide are blind, and many of them reach this condition after many years of slow and progressive retinal degeneration. The development of sophisticated prostheses or new light-responsive elements, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.