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Excess blood sugar could harm cognition

Study links persistently high readings to poor performance in older people who have diabetes

11:24am, January 30, 2009

Chronically elevated blood levels of the simple sugar glucose may contribute to poor cognitive function in elderly people with diabetes, a study in the February Diabetes Care suggests. But whether these levels add to a person’s risk of developing dementia is unclear, the study authors say.

People with diabetes face a risk of old-age dementia that’s roughly 50 percent greater than those without diabetes, past studies have shown. Research has also hinted that surges in blood sugar might account for some of that added risk. Many previous studies have tested for elevated blood glucose by obtaining a snapshot blood sample taken after a person has fasted for a day.

In the new study, Tali Cukierman-Yaffe, an endocrinologist at Tel-Aviv University and McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, teamed with an international group of colleagues to assess blood glucose levels in nearly 3,000 diabetes patients by measuring A1c, shorthand for HbA1c or glycosyl

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