Type 2 Diabetes Tied to Subsequent Risk of PD

Action Points

  • Note that this retrospective analysis leveraging hospitalization data in England suggested that those with diabetes were at increased risk of subsequently developing Parkinson’s disease.
  • Be aware that the authors did not have data on some key covariates, such as smoking, that may be related to both the exposure and outcome of interest.

People with type 2 diabetes had a higher risk for subsequent Parkinson’s disease (PD), a national retrospective analysis in England found.

A 32% higher rate of new-onset PD was seen in those with a previous type 2 diabetes diagnosis, and that rate jumped considerably if the diabetes patients were younger than 44, reported Thomas Warner, FRCP, PhD, of University College London, and co-authors in Neurology.

“Our study examined data on a large portion of the English population and found a strong link between these two seemingly different diseases,” Warner said in a statement. How the diseases are connected is unknown, but it’s possible that “restoring the brain’s ability to use insulin could potentially have a protective effect on the brain.”

Several studies have indicated that PD and diabetes may be linked, including a recent clinical trial that pointed to insulin signaling as a possible target for PD treatments. In that study, PD patients who injected themselves weekly with the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist exenatide (Byetta) performed better in movement tests than people who injected a placebo.

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