It is estimated that 1 in 10 Americans will have diabetes, and now researchers have found that this could increase the risk of cognitive decline later in life. This is the longest research study looking at the relationship between cognitive decline and diabetes by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Looking at over 20 years of research, the researchers found people with poorly managed diabetes had nearly 20 percent more cognitive decline due to aging, compared to those without. The data was from 15,800 middle-aged subjects, who were an average age of 57 at the start of the study in 1987. Up until 2013, researchers followed up with participants 5 times, each time measuring their cognitive function.
Lead researcher Elizabeth Selvin said in a statement, “The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you’re 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you’re 50. There is a substantial cognitive decline associated with diabetes, pre-diabetes and poor glucose control in people with diabetes. And we know how to prevent or delay the diabetes associated with this decline.”
“If we can do a better job at preventing diabetes and controlling diabetes, we can prevent the progression to dementia for many people,” Selvin says. “Even delaying dementia by a few years could have a huge impact on the population, from quality of life to health care costs.”