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[IP] dementia & diabetes

I just read this and wanted to pass it on to everyone. One more thing to
worry about huh!!

  "About one-third of all women and one-sixth of all men will develop some
form of dementia during their lives. In many cases, this will lead to
serious problems in day-to-day functioning. With the elderly population
growing, researchers are trying to find ways to predict who's more likely to
develop dementia and understand its causes, with the hope of someday
preventing it.

A recent report in the January 2000 issue of the Archives of Internal
Medicine suggests that at least among women, diabetics are more likely to
develop dementia than non-diabetics, and those who are insulin dependent are
more likely than those who aren't. This is an important study, because it's
one of the first to follow individual patients to see what happens, rather
than just comparing groups at one point in time. But it's also an example of
research that probably doesn't have any immediate implications for doctors
and their patients.

Researchers from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion in Atlanta, Georgia, along with investigators from the
University of California San Francisco and the University of Pittsburgh,
followed more than 9,000 white women over age 65. The researchers first
asked the women if they had diabetes and then gave them three mental
performance tests. Three to six years later, the women took the tests again.

At the beginning of the study, the 682 women with diabetes had lower scores
on all three tests than those without diabetes. In addition, their scores on
two of the tests declined more over the follow-up period. These results
remained significant even when the data was adjusted for factors like age,
education, visual impairment, stroke, and other diseases. The women with
type 2 diabetes (insulin dependent) had more decline than those with type 1.
Also, the longer women had had diabetes, the more they declined over time.

These results are important because they could help researchers discover how
dementia develops. The more we know about how it develops, the more likely
we'll find a way to prevent it. Although the overall scores for the diabetic
women were different from scores of the non-diabetic group, changes for
individual patients weren't that significant. This means that you wouldn't
be able to see differences in how fast cognitive function changed among
individual women.

This study may prove very important over time, because it does show that
there's a relationship between diabetes and dementia that needs to be
explored. But it has no practical application at this time and won't change
the way patients and their doctors manage either diabetes or dementia—at
least not yet! "

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