8, March 2010
Dementia is the progressive decline of thinking and reasoning abilities. These can include memory loss, difficulty with basic math, wandering, living in the past, personality changes, and not recognizing familiar people.
“Diabetes alone has shown to be a risk factor for dementia, as has major depression by itself,” said the lead author of the study, Dr Wayne Katon, University of Washington (UW) professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
The study team also included researchers from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, as well as UW researchers in medicine and in epidemiology.
Katon and the other authors noted that various other population studies have shown that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and other types of dementia is from 40 per cent to 100 per cent higher in people with diabetes, compared to people without diabetes.
A history of depression more than doubles the subsequent risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in the general population.
“We wanted to determine the effects of both conditions – diabetes and major depression – occurring together. Our analysis suggests that major depression more than doubles the risk of dementia in adults with diabetes,” Katon said.
The study has been published in the recent Journal of General Internal Medicine.