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Diabetes Plus Tooth Loss Tied to Worse Cognition

FRIDAY, March 24, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The co-occurrence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and tooth loss is associated with worse cognitive function and a faster cognitive decline in older adults, according to a study published online March 12 in the Journal of Dental Research.

Bei Wu, Ph.D., from the Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University in New York City, and colleagues assessed the effect of the co-occurrence of DM and edentulism on cognitive decline. The analysis included 5,440 adults aged 65 to 74 years, 3,300 aged 75 to 84 years, and 1,208 aged 85 years and older participating in the 2006 to 2018 Health and Retirement Study.

The researchers found that compared with peers with neither DM nor edentulism at baseline, older adults aged 65 to 74 years (β = −1.12) and those aged 75 to 84 years with both conditions (β = −1.35) had worse cognitive function. Compared with those with neither condition from the same age cohort, older adults aged 65 to 74 years with both conditions declined at a higher rate (β = −0.15). Accelerated cognitive decline was seen in older adults aged 65 to 74 years with DM alone (β = −0.09), while having edentulism alone led to an accelerated decline in older adults aged 65 to 74 years (β = −0.13) and older adults aged 75 to 84 years (β = −0.10).

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“Our findings underscore the importance of dental care and diabetes management for older adults in reducing the devastating personal and societal costs of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias,” Wu said in a statement.

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