diabetes

Diabetes and tau tangles linked independently of Alzheimer's

  • Type 2 diabetes is known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
  • In a reasonably large study, diabetes was found to be linked with higher levels of tau protein, regardless of the presence of dementia.
  • Diabetes was also linked with greater brain shrinkage.
  • The finding adds to evidence that diabetes increases the risk of cognitive impairment in old age.

A study involving older adults has found that diabetes was associated with higher levels of tau protein and greater brain atrophy.

The study involved 816 older adults (average age 74), of whom 397 had mild cognitive impairment, 191 had Alzheimer's disease, and 228 people had no cognitive problems. Fifteen percent (124) had diabetes.

Those with diabetes had greater levels of tau protein in the spinal and brain fluid regardless of cognitive status. Tau tangles are characteristic of Alzheimer's.

Those with diabetes also had cortical tissue that was an average of 0.03 millimeter less than those who didn't have diabetes, regardless of their cognitive status. This greater brain atrophy in the frontal and parietal cortices may be partly related to the increase in tau protein.

There was no link between diabetes and amyloid-beta, the other main pathological characteristic of Alzheimer's.

Previous research has indicated that people with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of developing dementia. Previous research has also found that those who had been diabetic for longer had a greater degree of brain atrophy

The findings support the idea that type 2 diabetes may have a negative effect on cognition independent of dementia, and that this effect may be driven by an increase in tau phosphorylation.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/aaon-dab082715.php

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Diabetes & cognitive impairment

A review and a large study have recently added to the growing evidence that type 2 diabetes is not only a risk factor for Alzheimer's, but is also linked to poorer cognitive function and faster age-related cognitive decline. The amount of this also seems to be related to glucose control in a dose-dependent manner.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is evidence that the association is not linked to vascular factors, but is in significant part explained by neuron loss. That part is not surprising — brains 'naturally' shrink with age, and growing evidence points to the importance of exercise (which promotes the growth of new neurons) in combating that loss. If diabetics are less likely to exercise (which seems likely, given the strong association with obesity), this may, at least in part, account for the greater brain atrophy.

Type 2 diabetes linked to poorer executive function

A meta-analysis of 60 studies involving a total of 9815 people with Type 2 diabetes and 69,254 control individuals, has found a small but reliable association between diabetes and poorer executive function. This was true across all aspects of executive function tested: verbal fluency, mental flexibility, inhibition, working memory, and attention.

Unfortunately, effective diabetes management does depend quite heavily on executive function, making this something of a negative feedback cycle.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/uow-t2d021315.php

Diabetes in midlife linked to greater age-related cognitive decline

A long-running U.S. study involving 13,351 adults, has found that cognitive decline over 19 years was 19% greater among those who had diabetes in midlife. Moreover, cognitive decline increased with higher hemoglobin A1c level and longer duration of diabetes.

At the beginning of the study, participants were aged 48-67 (median: 57), and 13% of participants were diagnosed as diabetic. Cognition was tested using delayed word recall, digit symbol substitution, and word fluency tests.

The findings support the view that glucose control in midlife is important to protect against cognitive decline later in life.

http://www.jwatch.org/na36497/2014/12/31/diabetes-midlife-associated-with-accelerated-cognitive

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141201191253.htm

http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/diabetes-may-accelerate-cognitive-decline/article/386208/

Brain atrophy linked with cognitive decline in diabetes

A 2013 study showed that almost half of the cognitive impairment seen among diabetics was explained by their loss of gray matter.

Brain scans and cognitive tests of 350 people with Type 2 diabetes and 363 people without diabetes revealed that those with diabetes had more cerebral infarcts and greater shrinkage in specific regions of the brain. Diabetes was associated with poorer visuospatial memory, planning, visual memory, and processing speed. These associations were independent of vascular risk factors, cerebrovascular lesions, or white matter volume, but almost half of the associations were explained by the shrinkage of gray matter in the hippocampus and across the brain.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-09/mu-bal091113.php

Reference: 

Vincent, C. & Hall, P.A. 2015. Executive Function in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychosomatic Medicine, doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000103

[3910] Rawlings, A. M., A. Sharrett R., Schneider A. L. C., Coresh J., Albert M., Couper D., et al.
(2014).  Diabetes in midlife and cognitive change over 20 years: a cohort study.
Annals of Internal Medicine. 161(11), 785 - 793.

[3909] Moran, C., Phan T. G., Chen J., Blizzard L., Beare R., Venn A., et al.
(2013).  Brain Atrophy in Type 2 Diabetes Regional distribution and influence on cognition.
Diabetes Care. 36(12), 4036 - 4042.

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Walking to work cuts risk of diabetes and high blood pressure

Data from a survey of 20,000 people across the UK has found that people who cycle, walk, or take public transport to work had a lower risk of being overweight than those who drove or took a taxi. People who walked to work were 40% less likely to have diabetes than those who drove and 17% less likely to have high blood pressure. Cyclists were around half as likely to have diabetes as drivers.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/icl-wtw080513.php

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Mediterranean diet may lower risk of diabetes

A review of 19 studies involving over 162,000 people has found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a 21% reduced risk of diabetes, with a greater effect (27%) for those at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The association was found in both European and non-European groups.

The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/acoc-mdm032614.php

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Low-carbohydrate diet reduced inflammation

A 2-year trial involving 59 patients with type 2 diabetes has found that those on a low-carbohydrate diet showed lower levels of inflammation compared with those on a traditional low-fat diet. Weight loss was similar in both groups.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-05/lu-ldr050814.php

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Grape skin extract may help treat diabetes

Preliminary studies have demonstrated that grape skin extract exerts a novel inhibitory activity on hyperglycemia and could be developed to aid in diabetes management.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-05/wsu--gse050814.php

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One partner with diabetes raises the other’s risk

A meta-analysis of six studies from around the world, involving 75,498 couples, has found that a spouse had a 26% greater risk of developing diabetes if the other had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

http://www.futurity.org/spouse-diabetes-raises-partners-risk/

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Seven new genetic regions linked to type 2 diabetes

DNA data from more than 48,000 patients and 139,000 healthy controls from four different ethnic groups has identified seven new genetic regions associated with type 2 diabetes.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-02/uoo-sng020714.php

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