The Diabetes-Alzheimer’s Connection

One in three US seniors will die with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. One in four seniors has type 2 diabetes. The incidence of these diseases, both associated with older age, is expected to escalate as the Baby Boomers age.

But here’s a question that’s never been asked before: is there any interaction between the two diseases?

A recent study, led by Dr. Michelle Callisaya of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, and published in the journal Diabetologia, was the first to analyze whether type 2 diabetes affects either cognitive function or brain size.

The researchers began by recruiting more than 700 participants between the ages of 55 and 90, and determining baseline measurements of their brain size and cognitive function.

Among the participants, approximately half of them were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, while the other half were free of this condition. MRI scans were used to determine both brain and ventricular volume, both of which are markers of brain atrophy. The researchers also took into account other important factors, such as age, sex, income level, education level, smoking history, cardiovascular history, cholesterol levels, and body mass index when analyzing their results.

The researchers studied the participants’ cognitive function using a variety of standardized tests as well as MRI scans at three different points over a period of nearly 5 years. Their analysis demonstrated a strong association between type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline. The decline was especially apparent in verbal memory and verbal fluency.

On the other hand, researchers found no connection between type 2 diabetes and brain shrinkage, and no evidence that type 2 diabetes had any connection or impact on brain atrophy.

The researchers pointed out that brain atrophy may begin earlier in those afflicted with type 2 diabetes, though this could not be demonstrated in their study since the average participant’s age was too high to have revealed such a connection.

At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, we are experts in handling Alzheimer’s and dementias.

We have created a unique environment and care program specifically designed to address the needs of this population. Our Alzheimer’s Unit is situated in a separate, secure wing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. It offers a structured daily routine, mind-stimulating activities, excellent social interaction, with optimal patient independence in a calm and soothing atmosphere.

Read our reviews on caring.com, wellness.com, and senioradvisor.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, we are experts in handling Alzheimer’s and dementias.

We have created a unique environment and care program specifically designed to address the needs of this population. Our Alzheimer’s Unit is situated in a separate, secure wing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. It offers a structured daily routine, mind-stimulating activities, excellent social interaction, with optimal patient independence in a calm and soothing atmosphere.

Read our reviews on caring.com, wellness.com, and senioradvisor.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

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