How are diabetes and dementia related? Elizabeth Tracey reports


The longer someone has had diabetes the greater the chance they’ll develop dementia, a recent study of thousands over 30 years of follow up has shown. Rita Kalyani, a diabetes expert at Johns Hopkins, says while associations between diabetes and many conditions is known, it’s unclear why.

Kalyani: We’ve tried to look at this for various geriatric conditions whether its frailty, muscle loss, falls, it’s really hard to tease out these associations between say it’s insulin and these outcomes, which we know is more related to hypoglycemia. That should also be noted, there is good literature that reports hypoglycemia as related to cognitive decline and dementia too, and so it’s both sides. High blood glucose and low blood glucose that likely contribute to the risk. :29

Kalyani says another big question is whether good blood sugar control attenuates the risk of both high and low blood sugar, and only additional long term studies with many people will help answer that question. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.