Alarming Link Found Between Diabetes and Alzheimer's

A new study conducted in Japan has found an alarming link between Diabetes and Alzheimer's. The study found that a person with diabetes is more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's or other types of dementia than a person without diabetes.

More than 1000 men and women above the age of 60 participated in the new study. Researchers found that older people with diabetes were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's. They were also 1.75 times more likely to develop dementia of any kind.

David Geldmacher, M.D., a professor of neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said:

"Having high glucose is a stressor to the nervous system and to the blood vessels. The emerging information on Alzheimer's disease and glucose shows us that we do need to remain vigilant on blood sugar levels as we get older."
CNN reports that scientists aren't exactly sure why diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer's, but they have a few ideas. High blood sugar and high cholesterol can harden and narrow the arteries in the brain. This can kill brain tissue, cause strokes, and bring about vascular dementia. Insulin resistance may also hinder the body from breaking down a protein (amyloid) which forms brain plaques that cause Alzheimer's.

All participants in the study were dementia free at the start. 15% of participants had full fledged diabetes at the beginning, while 23% had pre-diabetes. After 15-years, the study found that 23% of participants had been diagnosed with some form of dementia.

The study was published today in the journal Neurology.