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Blood glucose peaks and dementia

May 15, 2017
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Scientists know that diabetics have a higher risk of dementia, but how much does the variability in glucose levels matter?

Researchers from Johns Hopkins and the University of Mississippi studied records of nearly 13,000 participants, assessing cognitive status using three neuropsychological tests at three visits over 21 years. The study, published in Diabetes Care journal, showed diabetics with an A1c of less than 7 percent and glucose peaks (indicated by low levels of 1,5-AG) had a 19 percent higher decline than those without peaks. For those with an A1c of 7 percent or higher and glucose peaks, the decline was 38 percent higher than for those without peaks.

The findings show the importance of monitoring glucose peaks as well as average glycemia, since the two factors can affect dementia risk in different ways. “The mechanisms by which diabetes leads to cognitive impairment are not well understood,” the study authors write. “If glucose peaks in persons with diabetes contribute to long-term cognitive decline and dementia above and beyond average hyperglycemia, they may also offer additional targets for prevention.”

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