People who develop type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age are more likely to suffer from brain damage that may contribute to dementia as they grow older, a new study.

Diabetes can reduce the brain for an extended period of time, reducing the size of the critical areas, such as the hippocampus, which plays an important role in the short or long-term memory, according to the study.

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addition, diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk of micro-strokes and other damage to the blood vessels that feed the brain.

people who suffer from diabetes earlier in life had a much worse structure of the brain than those who are ill with diabetes in later life.The pictures show that cognitive impairment occur in a long period of time.The sooner you develop type 2 diabetes, the more likely to have damage.

Diabetes has long been associated with thinking and memory problems later in life, but this study is the first to present convincing evidence to explain why this is happening.

It has been known for quite some time that there is some link between diabetes and cognitive abilities in later stages of life.What was not known why there is this relationship, and how it evolves over time.

The study involved more than 1,400 people on average, seventy years of age.Participants in the study had a small problem of memory and thinking, called mild cognitive impairment.The scientists assessed the thinking skills and memory of participants, noting any signs of a moderate deterioration.

Study participants underwent brain MRI , to look for signs of brain damage, which can be an early sign of dementia.

Finally, the researchers examined the medical records of the participants to see if they were diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age, according to the study, between 40 and 60 years.

The study found that people who develop diabetes in middle age had brains on average 2.9 percent less than people who did not have diabetes.And their hippocampus was smaller than an average of 4 per cent, than non-diabetics.

When the hippocampus starts to decline, you begin to lose their long-term memory and ability to remember recent events.

Middle-aged people with diabetes were also associated with a 85 percent greater risk of micro-brain strokes.Finally, people with diabetes in middle age were twice as likely to have problems with memory or thinking, the study said.

And people with high blood pressure in middle age twice the risk of having the damage caused by stroke in parts of the brain associated with thought, memory and language, the researchers said.

While the study revealed a clear link between diabetes or high blood pressure in middle age, and memory problems later in life, it does not prove cause-and-effect relationship.

findings underscore the need for people to live a healthy lifestyle in middle age or even earlier.

Recent polls show that almost a quarter of people mistakenly think that they are at risk for Alzheimer's disease , only if it applies to their family.In fact, dementia can strike anyone, if the person does not show good care of herself.

Mid life - it really is a critical time for people to focus on the health of the brain, and not wait until it's too late.

Tags: Alzheimer's, the hippocampus, memory, dementia