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Diabetes Mellitus Is a Risk Factor for Vascular Dementia, but Not for Alzheimer's Disease: A Population-Based Study of the Oldest Old

  • Linda B. Hassing (a1) (a2), Boo Johansson (a1) (a2), Sven E. Nilsson (a2), Stig Berg (a2), Nancy L. Pedersen (a3), Margaret Gatz (a4) and Gerald McClearn (a5)...


Background: The purpose of this study was to examine if Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a risk factor for dementia in very old age, specifically for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD). Methods: We evaluated the risk of dementia in relation to Type 2 diabetes using a population-based sample of 702 individuals aged 80 years and older (mean age 83 years). A total of 187 persons received a dementia diagnosis. Thirty-one individuals had a diabetes diagnosis prior to onset of the dementia. Results: Cox proportional hazard analyses, adjusted for age, gender, education, smoking habits, and circulatory diseases, indicated an elevated risk to develop VaD (relative risk = 2.54, 95% confidence interval 1.35–4.78) in individuals with diabetes mellitus. No association was found between diabetes and AD. Conclusion: Type 2 diabetes is selectively related to the different subtypes of dementia. There is no increased risk of AD but more than a twofold risk of VaD in persons with diabetes.


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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
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