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WASHINGTON, May 17 (AFP) - The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increases by 65 percent among people aged 65 or older who suffer from a form of diabetes, according to a new study released Monday.
Researchers studied some 824 Catholic nuns, priests, and monks for five-and-a-half years.
Within this group, 151 people developed Alzheimer's disease, including 31 who were diabetic, leading the researchers to conclude that the risk increases by 65 percent for older people with diabetes mellitus.
"The research on a possible link between diabetes and increased risk of AD (Alzheimer's disease) is intriguing, and this study gives us important additional insights," said Neil Buckholtz of the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
"Further research, some currently underway, will tell us whether therapies for diabetes may in fact play a role in lowering risk of AD or cognitive decline," he said.
Diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by a lack of insulin secretion, hits about one-fifth of the US population aged 65 years or older.
The study, led by Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis and Dr. David Bennett, of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, was published in the May issue of the Archives of Neurology.
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