UCSF researcher urges caution on use of certain diabetes drugs in dementia patients.
A new UC San Francisco-led study looks at the close link between diabetes and dementia, which can create a vicious cycle.
Diabetes-associated episodes of low blood sugar may increase the risk of developing dementia, while having dementia or even milder forms of cognitive impairment may increase the risk of experiencing low blood sugar, according to the study published online today (June 10) in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed data from 783 diabetic participants and found that hospitalization for severe hypoglycemia among the diabetic, elderly participants in the study was associated with a doubled risk of developing dementia later. Similarly, study participants with dementia were twice as likely to experience a severe hypoglycemic event.
The study results suggest some patients risk entering a downward spiral in which hypoglycemia and cognitive impairment fuel one another, leading to worse health, said Kristine Yaffe, M.D., senior author and principal investigator for the study, and a UCSF professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology based at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
“Older patients with diabetes may be especially vulnerable to a vicious cycle in which poor diabetes management may lead to cognitive decline and then to even worse diabetes management,” she said.