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Get rid of Diabetes, Depression to Curb Dementia

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers say getting rid of diabetes, depression and eating fruits and veggies are interventions that can help curb dementia. Findings from French researchers show a 21 percent reduction in new cases of dementia from boosting intake of fruits and vegetables, getting rid of diabetes and depression and education.

No treatment for dementia exists, leading scientists to study the impact of diabetes and depression on cognitive decline. The link between depression and dementia is still unknown, but a study of 1,433 healthy people aged over 65 years living in the south of France revealed eliminating depression could reduce new cases of dementia by ten percent.

Scientists investigated known risk factors for dementia that include heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, stroke, history of depression, alcohol consumption, diet and education level to determine which risk factors could be changed and would have the greatest impact on warding off dementia.

Focus on Education, Early Diabetes Screening, Depression Treatment to Ward off Dementia

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In addition to eliminating diabetes and depression the researchers found that focusing on increasing literacy at all ages could reduce the chances of dementia by 18 percent over the next 7 years.

The findings are important given lack of treatment options for dementia that is a progressive disease and triples the chances of dying within the first year. Focusing on dementia prevention through education, early screening for diabetes and prompt treatment of depression are important from a public health perspective according to the study authors.

The findings provide a framework for public health initiatives that should focus on encouraging literacy for young and old, educating the public about the importance of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, detecting glucose intolerance or insulin resistance before diabetes develops and prompt treatment of depression to lower the chances of dementia. Getting rid of diabetes and depression and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption were found to reduce new cases of dementia by 21 percent in the study.

BMJ 2010;341:c3885



...I am surprised to see the two related.