Study in twins links type 2 diabetes and cerebrovascular disease


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new study which assessed the association between midlife type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cerebrovascular disease (CBD) in late life has found individuals who developed T2DM at ages 40 to 59 years had double the risk of cerebral occlusion and a 30 per cent higher risk of cerebral infarction. 

Researchers examined data on 33,086 twin individuals born in 1958 or earlier from the Swedish Twin Registry who were discordant for the outcome. A total of 1,248 (3.8%) had T2DM at ages 40 to 59 years and 3,121 (9.4%) had CBD at or above 60 years.

The researchers found that whilst midlife T2DM was significantly associated with cerebral infarction (OR 1.29; 95% CI 1.03-1.61) and occlusion (OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.20-3.44) in later life, there was no significant association between midlife T2DM and sub-arachnoid or intracerebral haemorrhage. 

Further analysis of twin pairs suggested that genetic and early-life familial environmental factors did not appear to account for the association between midlife T2DM and late-life cerebral infarction. 

Writing in Diabetologia, the authors said the findings highlight the need to control midlife T2DM to help prevent cerebral infarction and occlusion of cerebral arteries in later life. They said further research is needed to clarify the findings.