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

Oct 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)

Explore further: Study finds potential genetic link between epilepsy and neurodegenerative disorders

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Education protects against pre-Alzheimer's memory loss

Oct 20, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. – People with more education and more mentally demanding occupations may have protection against the memory loss that precedes Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the October 21, 2008, ...

Having a parent with dementia may affect memory in midlife

Feb 18, 2009

People who have parents diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia may be more likely to have memory loss themselves in middle age, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of ...

Recommended for you

A new cause of mental disease?

1 hour ago

Astrocytes, the cells that make the background of the brain and support neurons, might be behind mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia, according to new research by a Portuguese team from ...

Molecular basis of age-related memory loss explained

Jul 22, 2014

From telephone numbers to foreign vocabulary, our brains hold a seemingly endless supply of information. However, as we are getting older, our ability to learn and remember new things declines. A team of ...

The neurochemistry of addiction

Jul 22, 2014

We've all heard the term "addictive personality," and many of us know individuals who are consistently more likely to take the extra drink or pill that puts them over the edge. But the specific balance of ...

Study examines blood markers, survival in patients with ALS

Jul 21, 2014

The blood biomarkers serum albumin and creatinine appear to be associated with survival in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and may help define prognosis in patients after they are diagnosed with the fatal ...

User comments : 0