Study: Diabetes may be linked to increased risk of Alzheimer's disease

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Researchers have noted another possible link between diabetes and cognitive decline in older adults. They found a 65% greater likelihood of study subjects with diabetes developing Alzheimer's, according to an article in the May issue of Archives of Neurology.

The study examined how things such as memory for words and events, information processing speed, and the ability to recognized spatial patterns may be affected by people with diabetes.  Diabetes was related to decline in some cognitive systems but not in others.

The study was part of The Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center's Religious Orders Study and was supported by the National Institute on Aging.

"Further research, some currently underway, will tell us whether therapies for diabetes may in fact play a role in lowering risk of AD or cognitive decline," said Neil Buckholtz, Ph.D., head of the Dementias of Aging Branch in the NIA's neurosciences program.

Some 824 Catholic nuns, priests, and brothers participating in the Religious Orders Study were followed for an average of 5.5 years. Each has pledged to donate his or her brain to science upon death.