Diabetes May Affect Mental Health Later in Life
Older adults with poorly-controlled diabetes are more likely to experience a decline in brain function than those with good control, by Kristine Yaffe and colleagues. Archives of Neurology, published online June 18, 2012
What is the problem and what is known about it so far?
Older adults with diabetes are at an increased risk for dementia and cognitive decline.
Why did the researchers do this particular study?
There remains a lack of high-quality studies that explore the relationship between diabetes and cognitive dysfunction, plus little is known about how blood glucose levels impact cognition in older adults in the long term.
Who was studied?
The researchers studied 3,069 adults with an average age of 74; a quarter of the participants had diabetes when the study began.
How was the study done?
At the start of the study, participants took tests to assess cognitive function as well as blood glucose levels. The researchers continued to monitor their brain function and blood glucose over the next ten years.
What did the researchers find?
People with diabetes performed worse, on average, on cognitive tests than those without the disease. Among participants with diabetes, those with higher A1Cs (average blood glucose over the previous two to three months) had lower test scores than those with lower A1Cs.
What were the limitations of the study?
The study only included participants that, at the study's start, were physically healthy, with the ability to perform the activities of daily living like walking and climbing stairs. It's unclear whether blood glucose levels and diabetes status would affect cognitive function among older adults who were less well-functioning than those included in this study.
What are the implications of the study?
Diabetes may raise the risk for cognitive dysfunction, however good blood glucose control could help slow the decline.
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