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Diabetes can age the brain faster, study

Posted:  Tuesday, December 09, 2014

In what can be described as astounding, diabetes can age the mind 5 times faster than normal. If diabetes is detected at 50 years of age, then one is more likely to experience mental decline by the 70’s, American scientists said.

More than 15,000 US adults were enrolled as part of the study and followed from 1987 to 2013. The results of the study were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The scientists found 19% more mental decline than expected in participants with poorly controlled diabetes. In comparison, those with pre-diabetes and controlled diabetes showed smaller declines in mental abilities. The ethnicity of the participants had no bearing on the results.

"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. The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you're 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you're 50," said lead author Elizabeth Selvin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Diabetes is a condition that can be controlled through diet and lifestyle modifications. Hence, keeping the blood sugar levels under check could be the first step in preventing dementia later in life.

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