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Diabetes plus Depression leads to Dementia

If you have diabetes, don’t stay blue. This may lead to dementia later on, according to a study.

The study compared dementia in diabetic patients with or without depression. Prior research has established that both diabetes and depression are risk factors for dementia, but few studies have looked into the combined effects of the two.

To know this, researchers at the University of Washington and Kaiser Permanente studied data on more than 20,000 patients with type 2 diabetes. Out of the 20,000, 19.6 had depression. Their findings showed that diabetic patients who also had depression at the time of the study had double the risk of developing dementia 3 to 5 years after the initial screening, as compared to those who did not have depression.

“This study suggests that having both of these illnesses occurring together is associated with an even greater risk,” said senior author Rachel Whitmer, PhD.

“Since depression affects up to 20 percent of diabetic patients, it is critical to understand this relationship and further evaluate whether depression interventions have an impact on dementia risk in patients with diabetes,” said Andrew Karter, PhD, co-author from Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.

“Earlier onset of diabetes in patients with depression and greater risk of dementia in younger compared to older patients with depression and diabetes underscore the importance of evaluating the potential for early depression interventions to reduce the incidence of dementia,” said Katon. The researchers added that several lifestyle and psychobiological factors were the leading cause of depression among diabetics, such as lack of exercise and diet, or an increase in cortisol and sympathetic nervous system tone.

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