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      Diabetes mellitus and the Risk of Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Cognitive Impairment in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging


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          Background: Conflicting results have been reported about the status of diabetes mellitus as a risk for Alzheimer’s disease. We investigated the relationship between diabetes and incident dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular cognitive impairment) in a 5-year longitudinal study. Methods: Secondary analysis of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging, a representative cohort study of dementia in older Canadians. Results: 5,574 subjects without cognitive impairment at baseline participated in 5-year follow-up. Diabetes mellitus at baseline was associated with incident vascular cognitive impairment (RR: 1.62; 95% CI: 1.12–2.33) and its subtypes, vascular dementia (RR: 2.03; 95% CI: 1.15–3.57), and vascular cognitive impairment not dementia (RR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.01–2.78). Diabetes was not associated with mixed Alzheimer’s/vascular dementia (RR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.34–2.21), incident Alzheimer’s disease (RR: 1.30; 95% CI: 0.83–2.03) or all dementias (RR: 1.26; 95% CI: 0.90–1.76). Conclusions: Despite increased recognition of the role of vascular factors in Alzheimer’s disease, we did not find an association between diabetes and incident Alzheimer’s disease, even though diabetes was associated with incident vascular cognitive impairment.

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          Most cited references7

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          The effect of different diagnostic criteria on the prevalence of dementia.

          There are several widely used sets of criteria for the diagnosis of dementia, but little is known about their degree of agreement and their effects on estimates of the prevalence of dementia. We examined 1879 men and women 65 years of age or older who were enrolled in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging and calculated the proportion given a diagnosis of dementia according to six commonly used classification systems: the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), third edition (DSM-III), the third edition, revised of the DSM (DSM-III-R), the fourth edition of the DSM (DSM-IV), the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD), 9th revision (ICD-9) and 10th revision (ICD-10), and the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly (CAMDEX). The degree of concordance among classification schemes and the importance of various factors in determining diagnostic agreement or disagreement were examined. The proportion of subjects with dementia varied from 3.1 percent when we used the criteria of the ICD-10 to 29.1 percent when the DSM-III criteria were used. The six classification systems identified different groups of subjects as having dementia; only 20 subjects were given a diagnosis of dementia according to all six systems. The classifications based on the various systems differed little according to the patients' age, sex, educational level, or status with respect to institutionalization. The factors that most often caused disagreement in diagnosis between DSM-III and ICD-10 were long-term memory, executive function, social activities, and duration of symptoms. The commonly used criteria for diagnosis can differ by a factor of 10 in the number of subjects classified as having dementia. Such disagreement has serious implications for research and treatment, as well as for the right of many older persons to drive, make a will, and handle financial affairs.
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            Is Diabetes Associated With Cognitive Impairment and Cognitive Decline Among Older Women?

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              Status of Risk Factors for Vascular Dementia

              The two most common causes of vascular dementia (VAD) are dementia evolving in connection with multiple small or large strokes and dementia related to ischemic white-matter lesions (WMLs) of the brain. The knowledge about risk factors for these disorders is still scarce. Besides sharing risk factors with stroke, dementia with multiple small or large brain infarcts is also associated with non-vascular risk factors such as high alcohol consumption, psychological stress in early life, lower formal education, blue collar occupation, and occupational exposures. Risk factors for dementia in stroke victims include stroke-related and non-stroke related risk factors. Non-stroke-related factors are similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease. The main risk factors for ischemic WMLs are hypertension or increased blood pressure, but WMLs have also been associated with a number of other vascular risk factors. In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has also been reported to be associated with vascular risk factors, including hypertension, coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation, diabetes mellitus, and WMLs. Although these associations may reflect an overdiagnosis of AD in cases with silent cerebrovascular disease, or that cerebrovascular disease increases the possibility that individuals with Alzheimer lesions will express a dementia syndrome, there are also alternative explanations. AD and cerebrovascular disease may for instance share similar risk factors or etiologic pathways. The pathogenetic implications for the association between AD and vascular factors need to be further explored. There is also a need for more studies on risk factors for VAD and risk factors for dementia in stroke samples, as well as studies on non-vascular risk factors for ischemic WMLs.

                Author and article information

                Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord
                Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
                S. Karger AG
                July 2002
                22 July 2002
                : 14
                : 2
                : 77-83
                aDivision of Geriatric Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, and bDepartment of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
                64928 Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2002;14:77–83
                © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 4, References: 45, Pages: 7
                Original Research Article

                Geriatric medicine,Neurology,Cardiovascular Medicine,Neurosciences,Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry,Public health
                Dementia,Epidemiology,Diabetes mellitus,Vascular dementia,Alzheimer’s disease


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