Blood sugar levels and dementia: how our diet could be leading to memory impairment Dementia and memory loss is of major concern for all of us. It is estimated that 35 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and it has been proposed that this number will grow to around 100 million within the next thirty years (Copped’e, 2012). Although, it has previously been established that an important risk factor of dementia is diabetes (Bijal, 2012), new evidence now suggests that sugar intake and its effects on memory may begin even sooner. Scientists reached the conclusion that the risk of dementia is 40% higher in those with high blood sugar levels, and 20% higher in pre-diabetic patients (Crane et al., 2013). The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is one of the most ground-breaking of its kind and involved over 2000 patients; 800 men, and 1200 women. The average age of the subjects was 76, with none of them showing signs of dementia. Out of the 2000, 200 of them had been diagnosed with diabetes, while the rest displayed now signs. Over the course of 6.8 years blood sugar levels were closely monitored. It was found that 524 of the 2000 had developed dementia. The patients with blood sugar levels of around 190 were 40% more likely to develop dementia, and 20% more likely if blood sugar levels were around 115 compared to those with average blood sugar levels of 100. Another study published in the Journal of Neurology last year took brain scans of 249 subjects ranging from 60 and 64 years old with normal blood sugar levels. After four years of closely monitored blood sugar levels, those with the highest blood sugar levels experienced more shrinkage in the amygdala and hippocampus; areas of the brain which are associated with memory. This adds to expanding evidence of glucose levels and dementia, indicating that even in the absence of diabetes those with chronically higher blood sugar levels are at a higher risk of memory...
References: Bijal, T (2012). Eat Your Way to Dementia. New Scientist – I used this article to gain knowledge on the established relationship between diabetes and dementia
Coppede’e, F. (2012) Nutrition and Dementia. Current Gerentology and Geriatrics Research Ageing Research Reviews Vol. 10, 264-273 – I used this article to gain statistics on the amount of people with Alzheimer’s disease
Crane, P. K., Walker, R., Hubbard, R. A. (2013) Glucose Levels and Risk of Dementia. New England Journal of Medicine. 369: 540-548 – source of topic choice
Kerti, L., Witte, V., Winkler, A. (2013) Higher Glucose Levels Associated with Lower Memory and Reduced Hippocampal Microstructre. Journal of Neurology. Vol 81 1746-1752. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000435561.00234.ee – I used this article to expand upon the New England Journal of Medicine article and support evidence that there is indeed a relationship between blood sugar and dementia, or memory loss
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