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BACKGROUND: Diabetes mellitus is associated with cognitive dysfunction, but it is not clear whether the disorder increases the risk of conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia. AIMS: To determine the association between diabetes mellitus and dementia conversion in people with mild cognitive impairment (Peterson's criteria) in a prospective community-based study. METHOD: People over 65 years old were approached through primary care practices in south London, UK, and those with mild cognitive impairment (n = 103) were followed up for 4 years. Presence of diabetes was established from self-report and information from general practitioners. RESULTS: Nineteen participants progressed to dementia, with the predominant diagnosis being probable or possible Alzheimer's disease (in 84%). Only diabetes mellitus was associated with progression to dementia (hazard ratio 2.9, 95% CI 1.1-7.3) after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, APOE4, premorbid IQ and other health conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes mellitus increases not only the risks of dementia and mild cognitive impairment but also the risk of progression from such impairment to dementia.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





36 - 40


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cognition Disorders, Confounding Factors (Epidemiology), Dementia, Diabetes Complications, Disease Progression, Female, Humans, London, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors