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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2015, Article ID 810439, 14 pages
Review Article

Diabetes Mellitus, Cognitive Impairment, and Traditional Chinese Medicine

1National Institute of Complementary Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, NSW 2560, Australia
2Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia
3School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
4Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
5School of Biomedical Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

Received 5 January 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Andrea Tura

Copyright © 2015 S. W. Seto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disorder affecting a large number of people worldwide. Numerous studies have demonstrated that DM can cause damage to multiple systems, leading to complications such as heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disorders. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that DM is closely associated with dementia and cognition dysfunction, with recent research focusing on the role of DM-mediated cerebrovascular damage in dementia. Despite the therapeutic benefits of antidiabetic agents for the treatment of DM-mediated cognitive dysfunction, most of these pharmaceutical agents are associated with various undesirable side-effects and their long-term benefits are therefore in doubt. Early evidence exists to support the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) interventions, which tend to have minimal toxicity and side-effects. More importantly, these TCM interventions appear to offer significant effects in reducing DM-related complications beyond blood glucose control. However, more research is needed to further validate these claims and to explore their relevant mechanisms of action. The aims of this paper are (1) to provide an updated overview on the association between DM and cognitive dysfunction and (2) to review the scientific evidence underpinning the use of TCM interventions for the treatment and prevention of DM-induced cognitive dysfunction and dementia.