Diabetes-related dementia linked to other complications

by Bruce Sylvester: Persons with high rates of diabetes-related complications appear to  be more likely to develop dementia as they get older than persons with fewer diabetes-related complications, South Korean researchers reported on July 9, 2015 in the  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“Our research is the first nationwide study to examine how the severity and progression of diabetes is related to dementia diagnosis rates in an older population,” said co-author, Wei-Che Chiu, MD, PhD, of the National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Cathay General Hospital and Fu Jen Catholic University, all in Taipei, Taiwan. “We found that as diabetes progresses and an individual experiences more complications from the disease, the risk of dementia rises as well.”

For the 12-year-period study, researchers extracted and evaluated data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database’s records dating back to 1999. They identified 431,178 people over 50 and newly diagnosed with diabetes.

They determined the number of subjects who had been hospitalized or had at least three outpatient medical visits for dementia after receiving their diabetes diagnosis.

They  evaluated diabetes progression using a version of the Diabetes Complications Severity Index, which predicts mortality and and hospitalization among persons with diabetes.

They found that among the total study population 26,856 people (6.2 percent) were eventually diagnosed with dementia.

And, notably, the risk of developing dementia was higher among subjects with higher scores on the Diabetes Complications Severity Index.

Adjusting for confounding factors, the investigators found a significantly higher risk for dementia with first 6-year progression of diabetes.

Dementia-development associated with neuropathy, cerebrovascular and metabolic complications. It did not associate with nephropathy and cardiovascular complications.

“The study demonstrates why it is so crucial for people with diabetes to work closely with health care providers on controlling their blood sugar,” Chiu said. “Managing the disease can help prevent the onset of dementia later in life.”