Diabetes protein linked to memory loss

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By Philip Tubby | Thursday 25 January 2018

Researchers in China and the UK have found that the level of a protein, HbA1c, commonly used to assess if someone has diabetes is linked to worsening memory and thinking performance in healthy ageing adults. The findings are published today in the scientific journal Diabetologia.

Dr David Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Though there is a well-established relationship between diabetes and an increased risk of dementia, this research focused on the impact of higher average blood sugar levels on memory and thinking decline in healthy older people. One strength of this large study is that it followed people over time to show a faster decline in memory and thinking in those with poorer blood sugar control, but it does not shed any light on the potential mechanisms underlying this decline.”

“With an estimated 7 million people in the UK living with prediabetes, understanding the long-term impact on the brain is important, as well as the best approaches to manage this risk. It’s important to remember that diabetes is one risk factor for Alzheimer’s, the disease is caused by a complex mix of age, genetics and lifestyle factors. Current evidence suggests that not smoking, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check, eating a balanced diet, drinking in moderation and staying mentally and physically active call all help to maintain brain health as we age.”


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Philip Tubby