Studies focusing on diabetes and Alzheimer's disease have rendered conflicting results?until now. A study of 824 nuns, priests, and Roman Catholic brothers found that diabetes may dramatically increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's dementia. During the 6-year study, Alzheimer's was diagnosed in 151 participants, including 31 who had diabetes. The participants were 55 years old and older at the beginning of the study.
The researchers determined that diabetics faced a 65% increased risk of developing Alzheimer's. The connection remained strong even when the researchers factored in the frequency of strokes, which are a common complication of diabetes and which also are considered to raise the risk of Alzheimer's. The researchers, reporting in the Archives of Neurology (May 2004), said that the next step is to determine how diabetes may lead to Alzheimer's.