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Diabetes mellitus linked to Alzheimer's disease

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Wuesday July 8, 2014 (foodconsumer.org) -- In the Jan 2014 issue of PLOS One, Taiwanese scientists published a study suggesting that diabetes mellitus predicts the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Previous studies are inconsistent when it comes to the association between diabetes mellitus and risk of Alzheimer's disease. The current study reveals that diabetics were 76% more likely to suffer Alzheimer's disease.

The study based on data from 1,000,000 people in the Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database shows that among the sampled population, 0.48% of diabetics  were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, compared to 0.37% of non-diabetics, during a 11-year follow-up.

According to the study, risk factors for Alzheimer's disease include diabetes mellitus (76% higher), female gender (24% higher), hypertension (30%), previous smoking status (79% higher), and living in cities (32% higher).

Also in the study, insulin therapy indicated to treat diabetes mellitus has been found associated with 117% increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The study concluded "newly diagnosed DM (Diabetes mellitus) was associated with increased risk of AD (Alzheimer’s disease).  Use of hypoglycemic agents did not ameliorate the risk."

What this has found is the association between diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer's disease, which does not mean the former causes the latter or vise versus.  It's more likely that both diseases share the same genetic and or environmental risk factors such as unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

New guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease have been proposed, which suggest that lifestyle is an overwhelmingly important factor that determines the risk of the disease.

Nearly 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease, which eventually  completely disables the patients leading to death.  There is no cure for the disease at this time, but the disease is considered preventable in many cases. (David Liu, PHD)

Chin-Chou Huang, Chia-Min Chung, Hsin-Bang Leu, Liang-Yu Lin, Chun-Chih Chiu, Chien-Yi Hsu, Chia-Hung Chiang, Po-Hsun Huang,Tzeng-Ji Chen, Shing-Jong Lin,  Jaw-Wen Chen,  Wan-Leong Chan, Diabetes Mellitus and the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Nationwide Population-Based Study,  PLUS One, 2014

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