Is there a link between diabetes and Parkinson's disease?

June 13, 2018, American Academy of Neurology
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

People with type 2 diabetes may have an increased risk of having a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease later in life, according to a large study published in the June 13, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. In addition, the risk may be higher for younger people and those with complications from the disease.

Parkinson's is a progressive disease that affects a part of the brain that helps control movement. In type 2 , a person either doesn't make enough insulin to effectively turn blood sugar into energy or the cells don't use the insulin as well as they should.

"Our study examined data on a large portion of the English population and found a strong link between these two seemingly different diseases," said study author Thomas T. Warner, FRCP, Ph.D., of University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. "Whether it is genetics that may play a role in the development of these diseases or they have similar pathways to development needs to be investigated further."

For the study, researchers looked at data in a nationwide hospital database in England over 12 years and identified more than 2 million who were admitted to the hospital for type 2 diabetes for the first time. They were then compared to more than 6 million people without diabetes who were admitted to a hospital for a range of minor medical and surgical procedures like sprains, varicose veins, appendectomy and hip replacement.

Of the more than 2 million people with diabetes, 14,252 had a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease during a later hospital admission, compared with 20,878 of the more than 6 million people without diabetes who were later diagnosed with Parkinson's.

After excluding conditions known to mimic Parkinson's disease, and adjusting for age, sex, where participants lived, frequency of hospital admissions and duration of follow-up, researchers found that those with type 2 diabetes had a 31 percent greater risk of a later diagnosis of Parkinson's disease than those without diabetes.

Researchers found the risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease later in life was even higher for younger people, ages 25 to 44. In that group, 58 of 130,728 people developed Parkinson's, compared with 280 of 2,559,693 in the group of people without diabetes, which after adjustment amounted to a four-fold greater risk for those with diabetes. For comparison, among those who were 75 and older, there were 7,371 people out of 664,709 people with diabetes who developed Parkinson's, compared with 10,105 out of 752,104 in the group of people without diabetes, which after adjustment amounted to an 18 percent greater risk than for those without diabetes.

In addition, those with complications from diabetes had a 49 percent greater risk of a later diagnosis of Parkinson's disease than people without the disease, while those without were 30 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's than those without the disease.

"Restoring the brain's ability to use insulin could potentially have a protective effect on the brain," said Warner. "It is possible that a link between type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's could affect future diagnosis and treatment of these diseases."

One limitation of the study was that researchers were unable to adjust results for medication and smoking. Also, because it was a hospital-based study, it is possible those diagnosed with diabetes may have had a more severe form of the than those who are diagnosed in a clinic.

Explore further: Diabetes medicine reduces Parkinson's risk

Related Stories

Diabetes medicine reduces Parkinson's risk

September 25, 2017
A Norwegian study shows that the taking of diabetes medicine reduces the risk of getting Parkinson's disease.

Patients at risk over failure to recognize important diabetes subtype

October 23, 2017
The health of people with diabetes is being put at risk due to the failure of doctors to recognise which type of diabetes they have, a new study in the journal Diabetes Care reports.

Depression may increase your risk of Parkinson's disease

October 2, 2013
People who are depressed may have triple the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the October 2, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Hepatitis B and C may be linked to increased risk of Parkinson's disease

March 29, 2017
The viruses hepatitis B and C may both be associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the March 29, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy ...

Could Parkinson's disease start in the gut?

April 26, 2017
Parkinson's disease may start in the gut and spread to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a study published in the April 26, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. ...

Diabetes drug may protect against Parkinson's disease

July 21, 2015
A type of drug used to treat diabetes may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a new study published in PLOS Medicine.

Recommended for you

Brain response study upends thinking about why practice speeds up motor reaction times

August 16, 2018
Researchers in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that a computerized study of 36 healthy adult volunteers asked to repeat the same movement over and over became significantly ...

Newly identified role for inhibition in cerebellar plasticity and behavior

August 16, 2018
Almost everyone is familiar with the unique mixture of surprise and confusion that occurs after making a mistake during an everyday movement. It's a fairly startling experience—stumbling on a step or accidentally missing ...

Men and women show surprising differences in seeing motion

August 16, 2018
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on August 16 have found an unexpected difference between men and women. On average, their studies show, men pick up on visual motion significantly faster than women do.

Using mushrooms as a prebiotic may help improve glucose regulation

August 16, 2018
Eating white button mushrooms can create subtle shifts in the microbial community in the gut, which could improve the regulation of glucose in the liver, according to a team of researchers. They also suggest that better understanding ...

How people use, and lose, preexisting biases to make decisions

August 16, 2018
From love and politics to health and finances, humans can sometimes make decisions that appear irrational, or dictated by an existing bias or belief. But a new study from Columbia University neuroscientists uncovers a surprisingly ...

Cardiovascular disease related to type 2 diabetes can be reduced significantly

August 16, 2018
Properly composed treatment and refraining from cigarette consumption can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the New England Journal of ...

0 comments

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.