(HealthDay News) – For older adults with diabetes mellitus there appears to be a bidirectional correlation between hypoglycemia and dementia, according to research published online June 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Kristine Yaffe, MD, from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues prospectively assessed the correlation between hypoglycemia and dementia in a biracial cohort including 783 older adults with diabetes mellitus (mean age, 74 years).
During a 12-year follow-up period, the researchers found that 7.8% of participants experienced a hypoglycemic event and 18.9% developed dementia. The risk of dementia was increased significantly for those who experienced vs. those who did not experience a hypoglycemic event (34.4% vs. 17.6%; multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio, 2.1). Compared with participants who did not develop dementia, those who developed dementia had a significantly greater risk of having a subsequent hypoglycemic event (14.2% vs. 6.3%; multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio, 3.1). Similar results were seen after further adjustment for stroke, hypertension, myocardial infarction, and cognitive change scores.
“In summary, our results provide evidence for a bidirectional association between severe hypoglycemia and dementia,” the authors write. “Hypoglycemia may impair cognitive health, and reduced cognitive function may increase the risk for a hypoglycemic event that could further compromise cognition, resulting in a detrimental cycle.”
One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.