More evidence has been published which supports that diabetes is a “significant risk factor” for stroke and its complications. After taking into account age, sex and education, researchers found cognitive function was “significantly poorer” among those with diabetes and who had survived a stroke, but not in those with prediabetes. The senior author of the study, Dr Perminder Sachdev a scientia professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing in Australia, said: “That’s why type 2 diabetes is another important target in the prevention of dementia, and the focus should be on early treatment for prediabetes to delay or prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes. “This is important because prediabetes is very common, and individuals can have prediabetes for several years before progressing to type 2 diabetes. Early and aggressive treatment of prediabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. If we target the treatment of prediabetes, could this prevent the development of dementia in some individuals?” The research involved 1,601 people from across seven international studies. All the participants had their blood sugar levels measured when they were admitted to hospital with a stroke. Once they had recovered, each person had their memory, attention and speed of processing information tested between three to six months after they left hospital. The findings suggested that those who had type 2 diabetes fared much lower in the cognitive tests when compared to people who did not have the condition. Dr Jess Lo, lead author of the study and research associate at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, said: “The deficits we found in all areas of cognitive function highlight the importance of assessing the capacity for self-care in patients with type 2 diabetes following a stroke.” The researchers concluded: “Diabetes mellitus, but not prediabetes, is associated with poorer cognitive performance in patients 3 to 6 months after stroke.” The research has been published in the prestigious Stroke Journal.

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