Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hypoglycemia, Dementia Appear to Compound Each Other in Diabetes

Among older adults with diabetes there appears to be a bidirectional association between hypoglycemia and dementia, according to a report published online yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and other institutions studied 783 older adults with diabetes (mean age 74) who were participating in the prospective Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study beginning in 1997 and who had baseline Modified Mini-Mental State Examination scores of 80 or higher. Dementia diagnosis was determined during the follow-up period from hospital records indicating an admission associated with dementia or the use of prescribed dementia medications. Hypoglycemic events were determined by hospital records.

They found that during the 12-year follow-up, 61 participants (7.8%) had a reported hypoglycemic event, and 148 (18.9%) developed dementia. Those who experienced a hypoglycemic event had a two-fold increased risk for developing dementia compared with those who did not have such an event. Similarly, older adults with diabetes who developed dementia had a greater risk for having a subsequent hypoglycemic event compared with participants who did not develop dementia.

“Hypoglycemia may impair cognitive health, and reduced cognitive function may increase the risk for a hypoglycemic event that could further compromise cognition, resulting in a detrimental cycle,” the researchers said, urging that “Cognitive function should be considered in the clinical management of older individuals with diabetes.”

The new study is posted here. For more information on the link between dementia and diabetes, see Psychiatric News here.



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