Diabetes and dementia: Clinical perspective, innovation, knowledge gaps

J Diabetes Complications. 2022 Nov;36(11):108333. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2022.108333. Epub 2022 Oct 5.


The world faces a pandemic-level prevalence of type 2 diabetes. In parallel with this massive burden of metabolic disease is the growing prevalence of dementia as the population ages. The two health issues are intertwined. The Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care was convened to tackle the growing global concern of dementia by identifying risk factors. It concluded, along with other studies, that diabetes as well as obesity and the metabolic syndrome more broadly, which are frequently comorbid, raise the risk of developing dementia. Type 2 diabetes is a modifiable risk factor; however, it is uncertain whether anti-diabetic drugs mitigate risk of developing dementia. Reasons are manifold but constitute a critical knowledge gap in the field. This review outlines studies of type 2 diabetes on risk of dementia, illustrating key concepts. Moreover, it identifies knowledge gaps, reviews strategies to help fill these gaps, and concludes with a series of recommendations to mitigate risk and advance understanding of type 2 diabetes and dementia.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cognitive impairment; Dementia; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease* / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / prevention & control
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Dementia* / etiology
  • Dementia* / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / complications
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors