Sugar_dementia_2_Aug13_web

Sugar and dementia

Last year this column reported a study showing that mice fed sugar in their water suffered reductions in brain function and their ability to run a maze was impaired as a result. OK, you might be thinking that you’ll maintain your doughnut intake because you see no imminent requirement for you to be negotiating a maze. That may well be true but, regardless of your maze exposure, everyone faces the prospect of dementia and what has been shown in a new study is that the higher your blood sugar levels the greater your risk of developing dementia.

The study involved analysis of data from 2067 people aged over 65. Some of the subjects had dementia and others did not. To investigate for any relationship between sugar and dementia the researchers measured blood glucose and HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) in the subjects for almost seven years.

The analysis showed that the higher your blood glucose, even if it is in the pre-diabetic range, the greater your risk of dementia.

For example, the analysis showed that people with a blood sugar reading of 10.5 mmol/litre were 40 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those with a reading of 8.9. Both of those blood sugar scores put you in the diabetic range, but even readings in the non-diabetic range showed a link. People with a blood sugar reading of 6.3 were 18 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those with a score of 5.5. These last two readings are high but not yet in the officially recognised diabetic range.

What the results are showing is that there is a linear relationship between blood sugar levels and dementia risk. The researchers also made the point that there was no lower limit of blood sugar level where that relationship disappeared.

So, how is that doughnut looking now? Not so sweet?

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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