“Elevated blood sugar levels, even among people who don’t have diabetes, are associated with an increased risk for dementia, a new study shows.
“The effect was very subtle, however, suggesting that higher blood sugar levels may be more of a nudge toward memory loss than a shove.”If I had diabetes and I read this study, my reaction would be relief,” said Dr. Richard O’Brien, chair of neurology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, who was not involved in the research. “The effect was small.”
“The risk increases tied to rising blood sugar (or blood glucose) levels ranged from 10 percent to 40 percent. O’Brien pointed out that other risks appear to have much greater impacts. Having a parent with dementia, for example, roughly doubles or triples a person’s risk for developing the disease. O’Brien recently conducted a different study that looked at a similar, but slightly different question: whether or not blood glucose levels were linked to brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease. That study, published online July 29 in JAMA Neurology, concluded there was no connection. But O’Brien’s study had fewer participants than the current investigation, which means it may not have been large enough to detect the slight differences between people who did and did not have signs of Alzheimer’s. And because his study was solely focused on Alzheimer’s disease, it couldn’t rule out the possibility that higher blood sugar levels might be contributing to other kinds of dementia, particularly when it’s caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the brain. Continue reading “Blood sugar and dementia”