Cognitive impairment and dementia: a new emerging complication of type 2 diabetes-The diabetologist's perspective

Acta Diabetol. 2017 May;54(5):417-424. doi: 10.1007/s00592-017-0970-5. Epub 2017 Feb 16.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are two of the most common diseases of aging around the world. Given the frequency with which T2D and AD occur, the notion that people with T2D may be at increased risk for AD has large societal consequences, and understanding the mechanistic links between these diseases is imperative for the development of effective AD prevention and treatment strategies. Apart from being an accelerator of AD, T2D is associated with a progressive cognitive decline. Impaired insulin signaling, inflammation, the accumulation of advanced glycation end-products and oxidative stress all play an essential role in the pathogenesis of both AD and diabetic complications. Therefore, it is reasonable to postulate that these pathways are involved in the increased risk of dementia that occurs in the T2D population. The early diagnosis of cognitive impairment and the identification of the subset of patients at a higher risk of developing AD is a challenge for healthcare providers, and meeting it will permit us to implement a personalized medicine, which is an essential issue in diabetes care with significant therapeutic implications. The main gaps that should be filled to achieve this objective are examined.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Cognitive impairment; Dementia; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / metabolism*
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Complications / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Complications / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Insulin