Dementia May Differ in Those With and Without Diabetes

THURSDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Vascular disease, which affects blood flow in brain vessels, appears to be a common cause of dementia in some people with diabetes, new study findings suggest.

That's in contrast to dementia in people without diabetes, which the researchers say is more likely to be linked to the brain plaque deposits commonly seen in people with Alzheimer's disease.

The findings come from researchers at the Mayo Clinic's Florida campus and the University of California, San Francisco, who compared the ratios of two different types of amyloid beta proteins in blood samples from 211 people with dementia and 403 others without dementia.

"This helps in understanding diabetes and dementia. It suggests that the vascular dementia seen in diabetics, which appears to be related to small blood vessel disease and strokes, can potentially be averted if development of diabetes is prevented," neurologist Dr. Neill Graff-Radford said in a Mayo Clinic news release.

The study findings were slated for presentation July 14 at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease meeting, in Hawaii.

The findings support previous autopsy studies on people with diabetes and dementia, which found vascular abnormalities were related to dementia but not to the plaques and tangles characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, the authors noted in the news release.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, July 14, 2010