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New diabetic study may indicate slower cognitive decline is possible

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Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are among the most common and most costly health conditions and contribute to the inability to remain in the community either because of inappropriate housing or an increased need to access skilled nursing care.  Hospital and physician services are the largest components of health care costs with long term costs accounting for 12 percent of the total health care costs in 2008 according the U.S. Census Bureau.

People with type 2 diabetes have a well-known risk for eventually experiencing cognitive decline such as is found with Alzheimer’s.  Several studies are now in existence to examine the connection between the two and try to find a way to reduce that risk.  So far, according to Clinical Endocrinology News, there hasn’t been any success in intervening medically in such a way as to affect those cognitive outcomes.  But doctors now believe there might be some behavioral interventions that could be effective.  Dr. Jeff Williamson, chief of gerontology and geriatric medicine and director of the Kulynych Brain Research Center at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. suggested that along with monitoring lipids, kidney functions and eyes in annual assessments that cognitive function should be included.  In a study, intensive glucose control intervention did not affect patient’s scores in cognitive function but showed significantly greater brain volume.  While researchers were disappointed with the results, they are hopeful that the greater brain volume may be indicative of a slower decline in cognitive function.

Currently there is no cure for either type 2 diabetes or Alzheimer’s but we do know that we can manage type 2 diabetes by eating right, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.  By investing in your most important asset, your health, you are in turn using one of the four pronged approaches (the others being financial, housing and legal) to protecting your assets from uncovered medical costs, avoiding institutional care and avoiding becoming a burden to your loved ones.  If you need help with crafting a comprehensive LifePlan that incorporates all these disciplines, check out the AgingOptions Preferred Partners.

While we are all waiting for scientists to come up with a viable solution to diabetes and Alzheimer’s, here’s a diabetic-friendly recipe for Quick Mexican Black Bean Soup from the American Diabetes Association.

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