Diabetes may hasten progression to dementia in older people with mild thinking impairment, new research shows.
So-called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, increases a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. But aside from a person's severity of mental impairment, there is currently no way to predict which people with MCI will go on to develop full-blown dementia.
Diabetes has been tied to mental decline and dementia in aging, but it is not currently known whether people with MCI who have diabetes are at greater risk of future dementia.
To investigate, Dr. Latha Velayudhan of the Institute of Psychiatry in London and her colleagues followed 103 men and women with MCI over age 65 for four years, during which time 19 developed dementia. Most of these individuals had "probable or possible" Alzheimer's.
The 16 indivduals in the study with diabetes were nearly three times as likely to develop dementia as the study participants without diabetes, the researchers report in the British Journal of Psychiatry.