Diabetes, Depression Tied to Higher Risk of Dementia in Those with Mild Cognitive Impairment

People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at higher risk of developing dementia if they have diabetes or psychiatric symptoms such as depression, according to a new study.

Researchers at University College London recently analyzed data from 62 separate studies, which included a total of 15,950 people diagnosed with MCI. The new study found that among people with MCI, those with diabetes were 65 percent more likely to progress to dementia and those with psychiatric symptoms were more than twice as likely to develop dementia.

“There are strong links between mental and physical health, so keeping your body healthy can also help to keep your brain working properly,” said lead author Dr. Claudia Cooper. “Lifestyle changes to improve diet and mood might help people with MCI to avoid dementia, and bring many other health benefits.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that addressing diabetes, psychiatric symptoms, and diet will reduce an individual’s risk, but our review provides the best evidence to date about what might help.”

MCI is a state between normal aging and dementia, when a person’s mind is functioning less well than would be expected for their age. It affects 19 percent of people aged 65 and over, according to researchers. About 46 percent of people with MCI develop dementia within three years compared to three percent of the general population, the researchers noted.

“Some damage is already done in those with MCI, but these results give a good idea about what it makes sense to target to reduce the chance of dementia,” said senior author Gill Livingston, Ph.D. “Randomized controlled trials are now needed.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Source: University College London