Christina Hugenschmidt of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., analyzed data on 516 people with diabetes. She checked data on hearts and blood vessels for sub-clinical signs of damage, but with no noticeable symptoms. Hugenschmidt also examined results of tests that gauge thinking ability.
"People with higher levels of sub-clinical cardiovascular disease had lower scores on several different kinds of thinking tests," Hugenschmidt said in a statement.
She said the results indicated the effects of diabetes on blood vessels impact the brain's functioning ability.
"There has been a lot of research looking at the links between type 2 diabetes and increased risk for dementia, but this is the first study to look specifically at sub-clinical cardiovascular disease and the role it plays," Hugenschmidt said. "Our research shows cardiovascular disease risk caused by diabetes even before it's at a clinically treatable level might be bad for your brain."
The study was published at the Journal of Diabetes.