It is no secret that diabetes is linked with cardiovascular disease: the American Diabetes Association reports more than 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Now, according to Columbia University Medical Center researchers, diabetes may be linked with an increased risk of cognitive impairment that may be a transitional step to Alzheimer's disease.
"Among cardiovascular risk factors, type 2 diabetes mellitus has been consistently related to a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease," the authors reported in the April issue of Archives of Neurology.
The team studied 918 individuals 65 years and older who did not have mild cognitive disorder or dementia at baseline (between 1992 and 1994). At the beginning of the study and again every 18 months through 2003, each participant underwent an interview and assessment, which included physical and neurological examinations and cognitive tests.
During an average of 6.1 years of follow-up, 334 participants developed mild cognitive impairment. The researchers believed diabetes may be related to a higher risk for cognitive impairment by directly influencing the accumulation of plaques in the brain, which is a characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke are related to both diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
"Our results provide further support to the potentially important independent role of diabetes in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease," the researchers concluded.
Studies published in peer-reviewed journals have reported that patients with heart disease, diabetes and dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) may be deficient in vital nutrients: omega-3 (DHA and EPA) fatty acids, folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. Addressing these deficiencies may reduce cardiovascular risk.
Doctors are now using Animi-3 to reliably deliver, in a controlled, predictable manner, these nutrients to different patients. Animi-3 is a prescription supplement indicated for improving nutritional status in conditions requiring omega-3 (DHA and EPA), Vitamin B6, B12, or folic acid supplementation.
Ernst J. Schaefer, M.D., professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, is currently conducting a new double-blind, placebo-controlled study of Animi-3 for cardiovascular risk reduction and dementia. The Animi-3 clinical study is a six-month, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 75 subjects ages 55-80 years with no prior history of dementia.
"We believe subjects receiving the active supplement [Animi-3] will have significantly greater decreases in triglycerides, homocysteine, and small dense LDL, and greater increases in large HDL than those receiving the placebo," said Dr. Schaefer. "We are also studying the effects of this supplement on levels of C-Reactive Protein as well as measures of cognitive function, including memory and executive function."
"PBM Pharmaceuticals acknowledges this new development in diabetes research, which seems to be an additional reason for doctors to consider Animi-3 for diabetic patients," added company President Jack Schramm, inventor of the Animi-3 formula. "We eagerly await the results of the Animi-3 Dementia trial and believe supplementation benefits patients with these nutrient deficiencies."