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Is diabetes linked with dementia?

Is diabetes linked with dementia?
18th September 2014

Those with diabetes have a 50 per cent increased chance of developing dementia, according to a new study. 

Experts discovered how diabetes was particularly associated with vascular dementias, the Daily Telegraph reports. 

The report was for Alzheimer's Disease International and more than 400 studies were scrutinised to ascertain what brought about the onset of the neurodegenerative disease.

In terms of moving forward, the research team emphasised the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as the best way to protect the wellbeing of the brain. This looks like eating well, regularly exercising, cutting down on alcohol intake and not smoking. 

Those who have type 2 diabetes - which tends to be lifestyle-induced - were most likely to be obese and struggle with other health problems that could heighten the likelihood of them experiencing this form of cognitive decline. 

Researchers were not completely sure exactly what triggered the onset of the condition, however scientists stated that the "strongest evidence for possible causal association" with the degenerative disease are low levels of education at the beginning of life, high blood pressure in one's middle years, and smoking and diabetes.

The report, which was carried out by charities, experts and scientists from Kings College London, stated: "There is persuasive evidence that the dementia risk for populations can be modified through reduction in tobacco use and better control and detection for hypertension and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular risk factors. 

It was advised that whatever is beneficial for the heart will be good for the brain as well. 

Director of research at Alzheimer's Research UK Dr Eric Karran told the Telegraph these findings were a pertinent reminder that looking after the heart was an "important route to good brain health". 

Head of policy at Alzheimer's Society George McNamara was quoted as saying it was no longer possible to ignore the substantial evidence about lifestyle factors contributing towards the development of dementia. 

He added that in the quest to find a cure, it was important to look at the way in which individuals live to help tackle the condition. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes