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12-19-2018 | Older adults | News

News in brief

Type 2 diabetes may hasten cognitive decline

medwireNews: A prospective study reveals accelerated declines in some measures of cognitive performance among people with type 2 diabetes.

The 348 diabetes patients in the study, which is published in Diabetologia, were aged an average of 68.2 years and had an average disease duration of 9.5 years.

The researchers found these patients to have significantly poorer attention-processing speed, visuospatial ability, and visual memory at baseline than 375 people without diabetes, despite the latter group being slightly older (average age 72.5 years), suggesting that diabetes has “an impact on cognitive reserve that may begin before older age.”

And although follow-up was relatively short, at around 5 years, Michele Callisaya (University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia) and co-workers also observed an impact of diabetes on cognitive performance over time. Specifically, verbal fluency and verbal memory declined significantly faster among the diabetes patients than the controls.

This could contribute to developing difficulties with health behaviors such as medication compliance, say the researchers, “which in turn may poorly influence future vascular health and cognitive decline, and possibly an earlier onset of dementia in those with type 2 diabetes.”

The team had expected that brain atrophy might underlie these associations, but although total brain volume was lower in diabetes patients than controls at baseline, it did not mediate the longitudinal associations between diabetes and cognitive decline. However, brain volume itself did not change more in diabetes patients than controls over time, suggesting that any mediating effect might only appear with longer follow-up.

By Eleanor McDermid

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2018 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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