About 20 percent of people over 65 years old have diabetes. A new study finds this group is at an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.
The Study included 824 Catholic nuns, priests and brothers who were followed for more than five years. All of them underwent annual evaluations including cognitive testing. Researchers looked at five different types of memory tests.
During the study, 151 of the participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, including 31 who had diabetes. Researchers report a 65-percent increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease among those with diabetes compared to those who did not have diabetes. Researchers also report that certain cognitive functions, including memory for words and events, the speed of processing information, and the ability to recognize spatial pattern, may be affected more in people with diabetes.
However researchers say they found that diabetes was related to decline in some cognitive systems but not in others but since all participants have agreed to brain donation at their deaths, researchers have some hope that they will have an opportunity to examine the pathologic basis of the association of diabetes to cognitive decline.