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Rate of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease Evaluated

Last Updated: October 27, 2009.

In patients with diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer's disease, the presence of diabetes slows the rate of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a prospective, multi-center study in the Oct. 27 issue of Neurology.

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and Alzheimer's disease, the presence of DM slows the rate of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a prospective, multi-center study in the Oct. 27 issue of Neurology.

Caroline Sanz, M.D., of University Toulouse III in France, and colleagues conducted a study of 608 patients with a probable diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score between 10 and 26. Patients were assessed at baseline for DM and were followed up for 52 months with cognitive function assessed twice a year.

At baseline, the researchers found that 10.4 percent of the participants had DM, and baseline scores on the MMSE were the same for this group as they were for those without DM. However, among the DM group, cognitive decline was slower.

"This study confirms the unexpected effect of DM on the rate of cognitive decline in one of the largest cohorts of patients with Alzheimer's disease so far studied and over a four-year period of follow-up," the authors write. "Future studies will need to address the potential impact of DM in the cerebral aging process and to assess the neuropathologic variations in patients with Alzheimer's disease with DM."

Several authors reported financial and consulting relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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