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OBJECTIVE: Type 2 diabetes confers a greater excess risk of cardiovascular disease in women than in men. Diabetes is also a risk factor for dementia, but whether the association is similar in women and men remains unknown. We performed a meta-analysis of unpublished data to estimate the sex-specific relationship between women and men with diabetes with incident dementia. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A systematic search identified studies published prior to November 2014 that had reported on the prospective association between diabetes and dementia. Study authors contributed unpublished sex-specific relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs on the association between diabetes and all dementia and its subtypes. Sex-specific RRs and the women-to-men ratio of RRs (RRRs) were pooled using random-effects meta-analyses. RESULTS: Study-level data from 14 studies, 2,310,330 individuals, and 102,174 dementia case patients were included. In multiple-adjusted analyses, diabetes was associated with a 60% increased risk of any dementia in both sexes (women: pooled RR 1.62 [95% CI 1.45-1.80]; men: pooled RR 1.58 [95% CI 1.38-1.81]). The diabetes-associated RRs for vascular dementia were 2.34 (95% CI 1.86-2.94) in women and 1.73 (95% CI 1.61-1.85) in men, and for nonvascular dementia, the RRs were 1.53 (95% CI 1.35-1.73) in women and 1.49 (95% CI 1.31-1.69) in men. Overall, women with diabetes had a 19% greater risk for the development of vascular dementia than men (multiple-adjusted RRR 1.19 [95% CI 1.08-1.30]; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with type 2 diabetes are at ∼60% greater risk for the development of dementia compared with those without diabetes. For vascular dementia, but not for nonvascular dementia, the additional risk is greater in women.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes Care

Publication Date





300 - 307


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Dementia, Dementia, Vascular, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Sex Factors