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Diabetes also attacks mind

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 06, 2009 17:45 IST

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Blindness, renal failure, stroke and heart disease are potential outcome of type 2 diabetes, which currently afflicts more than 15 million Americans. Now research from Tel Aviv University (TAU) has found something more worrisome: it can also accelerate mental decline and dementia.-

Tali Cukierman-Yaffe, physician and researcher from TAU's Sackler School of Medicine, found that people with diabetes were 1.5 more likely to experience cognitive (mental) decline, and 1.6 times more likely to suffer from dementia than people without diabetes.

Her recent study suggests that higher-than-average levels of blood sugar may have a role in this relationship.

"Our results send an important message to the public," said Cukierman-Yaffe. "We have shown conclusively that there is a relationship between diabetes and cognitive dysfunction. This should be known by diabetics and their doctors. Knowledge is the first step towards action. Intact thinking is essential for managing the disease."

Early detection of visual problems, for example, can be treated with laser surgery if diagnosed early enough, and blindness can be avoided in some cases, said a TAU release.

"Today, diabetes cannot be cured. We can however delay or prevent many of its complications," said Cukierman-Yaffe.

These findings have been published in Diabetes Care.