Dementia screenings needed in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 03 Jan 2019
Dementia screenings needed in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes, study suggests
Middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes should receive additional screening for dementia, according to a new study.

Ecuadorian researchers have reported that people with type 2 diabetes were more likely to have impaired brain function, and say that preventative strategies should be introduced to reduce dementia risk in later life.

The link between cognitive impairment, involving poor memory and brain function, in the older generation is well documented.

Researchers already know the risk of dementia increases in older age, but this is the first time the effects of diabetes on cognitive decline has been studied among a middle-aged population.

The trial involved just over 300 people who were aged between 55-65 years. There were 142 participants with type 2 diabetes and 167 people who did not have the condition.

Each volunteer was asked to conduct a series of tests, which assessed their cognitive reactions. The team discovered those in the diabetes group had poorer results when compared to those without the condition, irrespective of gender, education, cardiovascular risk factors and depression.

Dementia is a prevalent chronic condition, thought to affect 850,000 people in the UK. However, numbers are on the rise and experts have predicted that by 2025 the number of people with condition will have risen to more than one million.

There is no cure for dementia but delaying the condition by five years could halve the numbers of deaths, thus saving 30,000 lives a year.

Changing dietary choices could be an important step towards lowering dementia risk. Eating a Mediterranean diet has shown to have a positive impact on brain health, while eating a higher fat, ketogenic diet could benefit people with Alzheimer's disease.

The Ecuadorian researchers have called for more work to be focused on whether establishing intensive glucose control can "reverse or delay progression of cognitive impairment on those patients".
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