Parkinson’s disease may be more likely in people with type 2 diabetes and may progress faster in these patients as well, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London. Diabetes treatment may lower the risk of the degenerative disease, the researchers said.

Investigators performed a review and meta‐analysis of observational studies from six databases. Findings from the highest-quality studies showed a causal link between genetic heritability of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s. There also was an association with a quicker onset of motor symptoms, although not with a faster progression of cognitive decline, reported first author Alastair J. Noyce, MRCP, Ph.D., and colleagues.

Previous reviews and meta-analyses have produced conflicting conclusions about the link between the two diseases, but the study team said that their findings are persuasive.

“This research brings together the results from many other studies to provide convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes likely affects not only Parkinson’s risk, but also Parkinson’s progression,” Noyce said. 

Screening for and early treatment of type 2 diabetes in patients with Parkinson’s may be advisable, he added. “There are many treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes, including prevention strategies, which may be repurposed for the treatment of Parkinson’s,” he concluded.

Full findings were published in the journal Movement Disorders.